Democrat Josh Stein declared victory over Republican Buck Newton in a tight race for North Carolina attorney general, with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Roy Cooper, a Democrat, chose not to seek re-election after about 16 years as attorney general to instead run for governor.
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Stein is a Democrat from Raleigh who early in his career served as campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for U.S. Sen. John Edwards. From 2001 to 2008, Stein worked under Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper as a senior deputy attorney general handling consumer protection issues. From 2009 to this past March, Stein represented a portion of Wake County as state senator.
Newton, a Republican from Wilson, is in his third term in the North Carolina Senate, where he represents Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties. He’s a top lieutenant to Senate leader Phil Berger, chairs the Judiciary Committee and leads budget writing for justice and public safety.
Provisional ballots must still be counted. Newton’s campaign said the day after the election that he would not concede until all votes are counted.
About the office
The attorney general heads the state’s justice department.
Among other things, the attorney general handles criminal appeals from state trial courts, as well as provides legal advice to state government departments, agencies and commissions. The attorney general is also tasked with consumer protection, including investigating unfair business practices.
What shaped the race
During the race, Stein blasted Newton for his support for House Bill 2, which overturned a Charlotte measure that would have allowed transgender individuals to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Newton served as the sponsor of HB2 as it moved through the Senate in March.
Newton sought to tie Stein to Cooper’s record as attorney general, including Cooper’s move not to appeal a federal court ruling that overturned the state’s voter ID and early voting law.