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'Worse than a dental appointment': NC House Rep. John Autry not running for reelection

Democrat John Autry has served in the General Assembly since 2017.
John Autry photo
Democrat John Autry has served in the General Assembly since 2017.

North Carolina House Rep. John Autry, a Democrat representing Mecklenburg County, is not running for reelection. He's served in the General Assembly since 2017.

Before going to Raleigh, Autry was a Charlotte City Council member for five years, representing the east side.

Autry is one of the most liberal members of the Democratic delegation in the General Assembly. He has a granddaughter who is transgender, and spoke on the House floor against Republican bills that would restrict health care for children who want to transition to a different gender.

He has also worked on bipartisan legislation to help researchers study psilocybin, also known as ecstasy, and whether it could help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said being in the minority party for so long has been difficult — especially when the GOP has had supermajorities and can override Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes at will.

“Serving in the minority is worse than a dental appointment,” he said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with what is good policy. It’s just too frustrating for me. You just walk around the building and feel like you get your teeth kicked in every 20 minutes.”

The Democratic Party is working to recruit candidates for a handful of open seats in Mecklenburg, including Autry’s soon-to-be-open District 100 in east Charlotte.

A Democrat will be heavily favored to win the seat next year.

Other seats have opened up as legislators like Wesley Harris and Rachel Hunt run for higher office. Some are open after redistricting.

And the Democrats are looking for a candidate to run in southeast Mecklenburg after Rep. Tricia Cotham switched to the Republican Party earlier this year.

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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.