Former State Auditor Ralph Campbell has died. He was the first African-American elected to a statewide executive office in North Carolina.
Campbell was born in the Saint Agnes building on the campus of Saint Augustine's College. At the time, it was the hospital for black residents of Raleigh. Campbell went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Saint Augustine's. He was elected to the Raleigh City Council in 1985. In 1992, Campbell won election as State Auditor, becoming the first African American elected to a Council of State position. He served three terms until he was narrowly defeated by Republican Les Merritt in 2004. Campbell died Tuesday at age 64 of lung cancer. He will lie in state at the Capitol on Friday and be remembered at a public memorial service that evening at the Progress Energy Center.