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Look for these Charlotte-area names on November’s council of state ballot

Rachel Hunt (clockwise, top left), Wesley Harris, Natasha Marcus and Chad Brown.
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Rachel Hunt (clockwise, top left), Wesley Harris, Natasha Marcus and Chad Brown.

Three Democratic state legislators from Mecklenburg County and the Republican chairman of the Gaston County commission are advancing to council of state races in November after primary victories Tuesday.

At 11:10 p.m., with 93% of precincts reporting:

State Sen. Rachel Hunt of Charlotte won a three-way Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor with 70% of the vote.

None of her 11 Republican opponents topped the 30% threshold on Tuesday to avoid a runoff election. That contest between the top two candidates would be on May 14.

After her win, Hunt previewed how the next eight months of the race are likely to play out.

"There is a lot on the line in November. Tonight, we unite in the fight against the oppressive agenda of the extreme MAGA Republicans in North Carolina," she said, drawing raucous applause from the crowd in Raleigh.

State Sen. Natasha Marcus of Davidson won the Democratic primary for insurance commissioner, taking 78% of the vote in a two-person race. She’ll face Republican Mike Causey. 

Marcus said she'll focus on reining in insurance rate hikes, which have spiked in recent years.

"I'm not going to say no rate hike ever. That would be a beautiful promise to make to try to get votes. I'm not gonna lie to people," she said after a victory speech in Raleigh. "Sometimes rates have to go up. Insurance rates go up just like everything else goes up in cost. But I do promise that rates will never go up one penny more than they have to."

Two Mecklenburg County residents faced off In the Democratic primary for state treasurer, with state Rep. Wesley Harris defeating first-time candidate Gabe Esparza with 67% of the vote. Harris will face Republican Brad Briner.

Chad Brown, chairman of the Gaston County commissioners, won a three-way race for the Republican spot in the secretary of state race with 44% of the vote. He’ll face Elaine Marshall, the incumbent Democrat, in November.

And in the race for state superintendent of public instruction, Democrat Maurice “Mo” Green will face Republican Michele Morrow in November. Green now lives in Guilford County, but he spent seven years as attorney and deputy superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in the 2000s. Green defeated two other Democrats with 66% of the vote, while Michele Morrow toppled incumbent Republican Catherine Truitt with 52%.

That’s in addition to the attorney general’s race, where two congressmen from the Charlotte area — Democrat Jeff Jackson and Republican Dan Bishop — will face off.

Other candidates from the region were eliminated Tuesday::

  • Jeff Tarte, a former state senator and mayor of Cornelius, finished fourth in a six-person Republican primary race for state auditor. 
  • C. Robert Brawley, a former state representative from Mooresville,  finished third of three in the Republican primary for insurance commissioner. 
  • Rivera Douthit, a Christian author from Mooresville, came in ninth in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

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WFAE Reporter Zachary Turner contributed.

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at or 704-926-3859.
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