North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review: 2016 Election Spotlight

December 4, 2015

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It is officially campaign season in North Carolina. North Carolinians planning to seek public office began filing on Tuesday. As of this morning,the State Board of Elections reported that 917 people have filed for county commissioner boards, local school boards, legislative seats, council ofstate offices, and judicial seats.

Candidate Filing

The candidate filing period for the 2016 elections began at noon on Tuesday, December 1, 2105. The filing period will end at noon on Monday, December 21,2015.

As of this morning, 91 sitting House members and 40 sitting Senate members have filed for the 2016 election. Additionally, nine legislators will face aprimary, 13 legislators have a general election, and one legislator has already received both primary and general election opponents.

To review the most updated candidate filing list, visit the State Board of Elections. The list isupdated approximately three times a day.

What is on the 2016 ballot?

The following offices are on North Carolina’s 2016 ballot:

  • President of the United States (four-year term)
  • One U.S. Senate seat (six-year term)
  • The 13 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives delegation (two-year terms)
  • The Council of State: Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Insurance (four-year terms)
  • All 120 seats of the N.C. House of Representatives (two-year terms)
  • All 50 seats of the N.C. Senate (two-year terms)
  • One Justice of the Supreme Court (eight-year term)
  • Three Judges of the Court of Appeals (eight-year terms)

Additionally, voters will be deciding on the Connect NC Bond Act of 2015, whichwill be on the March primary election ballot. If approved, a majority of the $2 billion bond will go towards infrastructure investments on the campuses ofthe state’s community colleges and universities.

To read more about the bond, visit

Election Policy Changes

The following bills became law during the 2015 legislative session and make changes to the state’s election laws.

H8: Court of Appeals Election Modifications– Requires a candidate for Judge of the Court of Appeals to indicate their party affiliation at the time of filing. The elections still remain nonpartisan,but the party affiliation of each candidate will appear beside their name on the ballot. This law is in effect for the 2016 elections.

H222: Retention Elections/Supreme Court– Allows a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court who was elected to the office by the voters to indicate their desire to continue in office. If a Justicedecides to do so, they will participate in a retention election, instead of filing to run against other candidates, during the general election immediatelypreceding the expiration of their elected term. This law is in effect for the 2016 elections.

H373: Elections– Moves the 2016 Statewide Primary to March 15, 2016. This move was made in order to increase North Carolina’s clout in the 2016 presidential primaries,and to maximize the number of convention delegates that both state Democrats and Republicans would receive for the 2016 conventions.

After two decades of holding the presidential primaries in May, the legislature passed a bill in 2013 that moved it to February, in an effort to make NorthCarolina a bigger player in the presidential primary elections. Historically, by the time the state’s primary date arrived in May, many of the presidentialprimaries had already been settled.

The move to February, however, was not sanctioned by the national Democratic and Republican parties. After the change was made in 2013, the RepublicanNational Convention threatened to take away 60 of the state’s 72 delegates to the 2016 Convention if the state did not move the election to a date laterthan February.

After much negotiation between state party leaders and Republican legislators of both chambers, the March 15, 2016 date was agreed upon. North Carolina’sprimaries are winner-take-all for both parties, meaning that the top vote-getter in each party wins all of the state’s delegates. If this conflicts withnational rules, then state parties can opt out. Currently Democrats plan to award delegates proportionally, so they will likely opt out of thewinner-take-all event.

H836: Election Modifications– This bill makes several modifications to various election laws: authorizes electronic submission of absentee ballot lists by county boards of elections,authorizes the use of new technology for paper ballots, extends the time for counties that currently use direct record electronic voting machines toimplement paper ballot requirements to September 1, 2019, authorizes certain local governments to conduct malt beverage and unfortified wine elections,requires county boards of elections to notify a registered voters of their option to complete a written request for an absentee ballot at a one-stop votinglocation if the voter does not have an eligible form of photo identification at the time, authorizes voters to complete reasonable impediment declarationsif they suffer from a reasonable impediment that prevents them from obtaining photo identification, and requires electronic poll books to be certified bythe State Board of Elections.

Not Running for Reelection

During the past several weeks leading up to the candidate filing period, elected officials that plan to retire from public office at the end of their 2016terms, or plan to run for a different public office have announced their intentions.

NC Senate
Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson)
Sen. Stan Bingham (R-Davidson)
Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg)
Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson) – Running for Attorney General
Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake) – Running for Attorney General

NC House
Rep. Nathan Baskerville (D-Vance)
Rep. Rayne Brown (R-Davidson)
Rep. Rick Catlin (R-New Hanover)
Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg)
Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston)
Rep. J.H. Langdon (R-Johnston)
Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg)
Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake)
Rep. Paul Tine (U-Dare)
Rep. Ken Waddell (D-Columbus)
Rep. Roger West (R-Cherokee)
Rep. Chris Whitmire (R-Transylvania)
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) – Running for NC Senate District 39

Council of State
State Treasurer Janet Cowell (D)
Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) – Running for N.C. Governor


Senior Vice President 

Senior Vice President 

Franklin Freeman
Senior Vice President 

Bo Heath
Senior Vice President 

John Merritt
Senior Vice President 

Senior Vice President 

Kerri Burke
Vice President 

Assistant Vice President 

Sarah Wolfe
Assistant Vice President