NCGA Week in Review

February 21, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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Super Tuesday is just two weeks away which means North Carolina voters will soon make their way to the polls to cast their first ballots of the 2020 election. The March 3rd primary election will determine which Democratic candidates and which Republican candidates will face off in the general election this November. This year’s ballot includes candidates for a handful of local and state offices, including Governor, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the President.

With so many primary contests, including all 170 of North Carolina’s state legislative seats, taking place in just a few weeks, the McGuireWoods Consulting team will lay out what you need to know about all of the North Carolina primary contests through the next few editions of our Week in Review newsletter. We will wrap our series up with a complete primary recap once the March 3rd results are in. This week, we will tell you what you need to know about the primary contests in the race for Governor and the seats in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

For more information on how to vote in North Carolina, click here. For a complete list of candidates on this year’s ballot, click here.


Both Democratic and Republican candidates in the race to be the next Governor of North Carolina will first have to make it through the March 3rd primary contest. Current Governor Roy Cooper (D) will defend his office against challenger Ernest Reeves (D). While Governor Cooper may have the benefit of his incumbency, Reeves has previously run for a handful of offices, including mayor of Greenville in 2015, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives NC District 3 in 2016 and the 2019 special election, and, most recently, Greenville City Council in 2019.

In the Republican primary, current state Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) will go up against current Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. Rep. Grange has served as a member of the state House since 2016 after serving in the U.S. Army and becoming an attorney. Forest was elected to serve as Lt. Governor in 2012 and has held the office ever since. Forest was previously the Office President and Partner at North Carolina’s largest architectural firm, Diversified Architectural Consulting.


Many familiar faces around the state House will not be returning to the legislature next year. 15 members of the North Carolina House will either retire after their current term is up or are seeking a different office in 2020, including:

  • Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-Mecklenburg, District 92), who is running for Lieutenant Governor.
  • Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes (R-Nash, District 7), who is running for a state Senate seat.
  • Rep. MaryAnn Black (D-Durham, District 29), who is retiring at the end of her term.
  • Rep. Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth, District 74), who is retiring at the end of her term.
  • Rep. Kevin Corbin (R-Macon, District 120), who is running for a state Senate seat.
  • Rep. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell, District 85), who is running for Labor Commissioner.
  • Rep. John Fraley (R-Iredell, District 95), who is retiring at the end of his term.
  • Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover, District 20), who is running for Governor.
  • Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (D-Wake, District 38), who is running for Lieutenant Governor.
  • Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union, District 68), who is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson, District 117), who is retiring at the end of his term.
  • Rep. Derwin Montgomery (D-Forsyth, District 72), who is running for North Carolina’s District 6 seat of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Rep. Michele Presnell (R-Yancey, District 118), who is retiring at the end of her term.
  • Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Craven, District 3), who is retiring at the end of his term.
  • Rep. Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson, District 80), who is running for a state Senate seat.

Incumbent Contests

While the majority of incumbent members in the state House can skip ahead to focusing on the November election, a handful of candidates will have to face off against a primary challenger on March 3rd. Among the current members of the North Carolina House, 20 have a candidate looking to unseat them this election:

  • Rep. Howard Hunter (D-Hertford) will go up against challenger Keith River in the District 5 Democratic primary.
  • Rep. Bobby Hanig (R-Currituck) will face Rob Rollason in the District 6 Republican primary.