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NC Attorney General Josh Stein will run for governor in 2024

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Josh Stein
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N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he is running for governor in 2024. He’s the first major candidate to declare, officially kicking off the race for the governor's mansion in Raleigh almost 21 months before the election.

In a video announcing his candidacy, Stein attacked Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor. Robinson has made controversial statements about the LGBT community, vocally advocated his support guns and drawn criticism for saying that men should assume leadership roles over women.


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"Today there is a different set of bomb throwers who threaten our freedoms and our future while some politicians spark division, ignite hate and fan the flames of bigotry," Stein said in his campaign announcement video.

The race in 2024 — timed with a presidential election that could see a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden — is likely to draw national interest as a gubernatorial contest in a potential swing state.

While Republicans have won 9 of the last 10 presidential races in North Carolina, Democrats have had a near lock on the governor’s office since 1993, winning every election except Republican Pat McCrory’s victory in 2012.

Stein has pursued high-profile, consumer-friendly cases such as successfully sued e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL for selling to minors, investigating opioid distributors and looking into the Taylor Swift-Ticketmaster debacle last year.

He narrowly won reelection two years ago, by a quarter of a percentage point.

Stein's announcement is early based on past campaigns. Western Carolina political science professor Chris Cooper noted that Gov. Roy Cooper announced in October 2015 that he was running for governor in November 2016.

McCrory announced his candidacy for the 2012 race in December 2011. Former Democratic governor Bev Purdue announced she was running for the 2008 election 13 months earlier.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.