Early voting for second primary begins April 25

Republicans and unaffiliated voters who cast a Republican ballot in the March 5 primary election have some unfinished business in choosing which candidate will run against Democratic opponents for two state races in November’s general election.

No candidate for lieutenant governor or state auditor received enough statewide votes to win their Republican primary outright, allowing second-place finishers to request a second primary Tuesday, May 14.

Unaffiliated voters who did not vote in the March 5 primary also can vote in the second primary. No new voter registration is permitted between the first and second primaries, including during early voting. In-person early voting starts Thursday, April 25, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Lieutenant governor

For lieutenant governor, top primary vote-getter Hal Weatherman, who received about 20% of the vote in March, will face off against Jim O’Neill, who received about 16% of votes. There were nine other candidates in that race who received anywhere from 2%-15% of the votes statewide. In Buncombe County, Weatherman received just 68 votes more than O’Neill, a difference of less than half a percentage point.

Weatherman, who lives in Charlotte, served as chief of staff for former Lt. Gov, Dan Forest and U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick. O’Neill is in his fourth term as Forsyth County district attorney, for which he was first appointed in 2009.

The winner will face Democrat Rachel Hunt in November. Hunt won the Democratic nomination over two opponents with more than 70% of votes cast. Mark Robinson, the current lieutenant governor, won the Republican nomination for governor and will face Democrat Josh Stein in the general election.

Similar to the vice president of the United States, the lieutenant governor’s primary responsibility is to preside over the N.C. state Senate. The position also comes with a seat on the Council of State, the N.C. Board of Education, the N.C. Capital Planning Commission and the N.C. Board of Community Colleges. The lieutenant governor also serves as the chair of the e-Learning Commission.

N.C. auditor

For state auditor, Jack Clark, a registered accountant from Raleigh, surpassed five other candidates in the March primary with more than 23% of the vote. In the second primary, he will face Dave Boliek, a Fayetteville attorney who serves on the UNC Board of Trustees, who finished second in March with 22% of the vote. In Buncombe County, Clark received almost 26% of the vote, beating second-place finisher Charles Dingee by nearly 2 percentage points. Dingee came in third statewide. Boliek finished third in Buncombe, receiving a little over 15% of the vote.

The winner will face incumbent Democrat Jessica Holmes, who was appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper in December after Beth Wood resigned.

The state auditor is charged with reviewing more than $100 billion in state assets and liabilities each year, including ensuring programs such as health, education and economic growth are delivering what they should, according to the Office of the State Auditor’s website. The auditor also compiles the state’s annual comprehensive financial report in an attempt to maintain the state’s AAA credit rating.

In-person early voting takes place at the Buncombe County Election Services Office at 59 Woodfin Place weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday, May 10. Polls will be open Saturday, May 4, and Saturday, May 11, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Voters who wish to vote by mail must request an absentee ballot by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 7. Polls will be open on primary election day, Tuesday, May 14, from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. The deadline to return absentee ballots is also 7:30 p.m. on election day. Check your primary election day polling location at avl.mx/6nq.


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