Sep 15, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
This week in NC politics, a House committee looked at the state’s judicial
branch, with the committee chairman hoping to redraw judicial districts,
and 2017 municipal elections kicked off with partisan primaries in three
House Committee Considering Judicial Redistricting
The House Select Committee on Judicial Redistricting, chaired by Rep.
Justin Burr (R-Stanly), held its inaugural meeting on Tuesday with two
presentations on the state’s court system. In April, Rep. Burr introduced
HB 717: Revise Judicial Districts, which overhauls the state’s judicial districts, and Judicial
redistricting will likely be in the spotlight when legislators return to
Raleigh next month.
During their first meeting the committee focused on the history and current
structure of the state’s court system. The committee received presentations
from James Drennan, a former head of the NC Administrative Office of the
Courts (NCAOC) and current professor at the UNC School of Government, and
Judge Marion Warren, the current head of the NCAOC.
reviewed the state’s judicial history, focusing on substantial judicial
reforms. The last time the state’s judicial system saw serious reform was
from 1955 to 1962 when lawmakers passed sweeping reforms to unify the
state’s disjointed court system. Additionally, Drennan discussed the
selection of judges and different methods used across the country.
Currently, judges in NC are selected through partisan elections, while some
other states utilize legislative or executive appointment or merit based
was focused on the role of the NCAOC in overseeing the state’s system of
judges, clerks and district attorney offices. The NCAOC provides
centralized administrative and operational services for all state courts.
The committee will meet again next Tuesday, September 19 at 1:00 PM.
Municipal Elections Kick-Off with September Primaries
In NC, municipal elections vary based on the charter of each municipality;
some municipal officers hold two-year terms, others hold four-year terms.
Election methods vary from municipality to municipality, and though most
municipalities in the state hold local elections in odd-numbered years,
some are held during even-numbered years.
governs the timing of municipal elections based on election method. This
week, partisan primaries were held in three municipalities.
On Tuesday, partisan primaries were held in Charlotte, turnout was around
8%. In the Democratic mayoral primary, Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles secured
46.15% of the vote to upset incumbent Jennifer Roberts, who received 36.21%
of the vote, state Senator Joel Ford was a distant third, followed by
Lucille Puckett and Constance Partee Johnson. Republican City Councilman
Kenny Smith secured 88.63% of the vote in a three-way primary against Gary
Dunn and Kimberly Barnette.
Lyles’ victory was
to many after underperforming against Roberts in both
leading up to the primary. Lyles is a career public servant and in many
ways aligns with Mayor Roberts. During her term, Mayor Roberts faced many
controversial issues; she led the city’s efforts to extend legal protections to the LGBT
community, which sparked the passage of HB 2, and faced national scrutiny
after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott last September.
As one of two Republicans on the Charlotte City Council, Smith, a
commercial real estate broker, has built a strong
conservative record and was favored to succeed in his primary throughout his campaign.
During the primary campaign cycle, the Charlotte Observer,
both Lyles and Smith in their respective races, saying the city needs a
To read more about the candidates and where they stand on major issues in
the Queen City, follow this
Several City Council seats also had partisan primaries in Charlotte.
Additionally, a Republican mayoral primary was held in the Town of Murphy,
where Rick Ramsey secured 90.41% of the vote over his Republican opponents
Jeff Crane and Royse Brown. Ramsey will face Democrat Curtis Brown on
November 7, where there is no incumbent in the race. Also, a Democratic
primary for the Cleveland County Board of Elections secured four nominees
for the partisan board.
On October 10, municipalities that elect officials through a nonpartisan
primary and election method, such as Asheville, and municipalities that
elect their candidates in a nonpartisan election and runoff method, such as
Raleigh, will head to the polls. Municipal elections will wrap up on
November 7, when municipalities that use partisan or nonpartisan primary
methods hold a general election and runoff elections are held in necessary
To view all municipal filings and election dates, follow this