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Facing new charges, NC state auditor to resign

State auditor Beth Wood at a Raleigh GOTV event on Oct. 21, 2020.
via Flickr
State auditor Beth Wood at a Raleigh GOTV event on Oct. 21, 2020.

Days after being indicted on charges of misusing state-owned vehicles, State Auditor Beth Wood announced late Thursday that she plans to step down on Dec. 15.

An indictment released Tuesday by Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Wood improperly drove her state vehicle on personal errands such as spa treatments, shopping trips and dental appointments. Her first court appearance on the misdemeanor charges is scheduled for Dec. 4.

"I made this decision because we have such a great team doing incredibly important work and I don’t want to be a distraction," she said in a statement released by a spokesperson. "It has been an honor and privilege to work with such a talented staff and to serve the citizens of this great state.”

Wood had previously been planning to seek another term, but she announced at a legislative hearing last week that she wouldn't seek re-election. She said then that she planned to finish her term and had "14 months (left) to kick some butt."

Wood's decision to resign was first reported by freelance journalist Bryan Anderson.

The auditor's decision comes months after she pleaded guilty to hit-and-run charges. Wood crashed her state-owned car in downtown Raleigh last December while leaving a holiday party where she said she had two glasses of wine. She later said leaving the scene of the accident was a "grave mistake."

Wood is a Democrat who's been in office since 2009. Five Republicans are running for auditor next year, and Democrat Luis Toledo, a former assistant auditor under Wood, recently entered the race.

The GOP candidates include UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees member Dave Boliek, former Secretary of State candidate AJ Daoud, Jack Clark, Jim Kee and Charles Dingee.

Wood's resignation will mean that Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint someone to complete her term.

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.
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