RALEIGH — Ned Mangum, a Wake County District Court judge, has been asked by the governor’s office to step in as acting district attorney for the next nine months.
Mangum, 41, said he agreed to take on the assignment during a phone call with Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration on Thursday afternoon.
Colon Willoughby, Wake County’s top prosecutor for nearly three decades, announced earlier this year that he did not plan to seek another term in office. Then last week, Willoughby informed McCrory that he had been offered a job and planned to leave office by the end of this month.
Mangum, a former prosecutor who grew up in Raleigh, spent nearly a decade in the Wake County district attorney’s office before becoming a District Court judge in 2008.
He is a Republican, running unopposed for another term on the District Court bench. Because of that, Mangum said, the timing of the offer from the governor’s office worked.
“It’s unusual timing,” Mangum said.
Mangum’s name has come up before as a possible contender for district attorney, but he said he was interested in staying on the District Court bench.
Four Republicans and two Democrats are vying for the district attorney’s post. The primary elections are in May, and the general elections are in November. The new district attorney would take office in January, when Mangum would again become district judge.
For six months, he would not be able to hear criminal cases after serving as acting district attorney. Mangum said there are plenty of civil cases in District Court he could preside over during that time.
Lorrin Freeman, the Wake County Clerk of Court who also is one of two Democrats seeking the district attorney’s post, praised Mangum’s appointment.
“His appointment by the governor continues the long tradition of bipartisan cooperation in the Wake County Courthouse in the administration of justice,” Freeman said in a statement Thursday.
In addition to Freeman, others running for district attorney include: John Walter Bryant, a lawyer in private practice running as a Republican; Jeff Cruden, an assistant Wake County district attorney and a Republican; Jefferson G. Griffin, an assistant Wake County district attorney since 2010 and a Republican; Terry A. Swaim, a defense attorney in private practice and a Republican; and Boz Zellinger, an assistant Wake County district attorney and a Democrat.