When Paul Gessner retired from his post on the Wake County Superior Court bench at the start of the year, he left an open seat with seven years left in his term and triggered a special election in northwest Wake County.
Wake County District Court Judge Michael Denning, a Republican, and Becky Holt, a Wake County assistant district attorney who is registered as unaffiliated, were the top two vote-getters in the May primary that winnowed a field of five candidates for the seat, Judicial District 10C.
With 33 of 37 precincts reporting in the district – a northern region of the county that includes Rolesville, Wake Forest and the area around Falls Lake – Holt led with 58.14 percent of the vote to Denning’s 41.86 percent. Voter registrations from the district show it leans slightly toward Republicans, with unaffiliated voters making up the next highest group, and Democrats just behind.
Holt, a prosecutor on the high-profile Jason Young and Ann Miller homicide cases, campaigned on a platform touting her 27 years in the Wake County District Attorney’s Office. That courtroom experience, Holt said, would be beneficial. If Holt holds her lead, she will be Wake County’s only female Superior Court judge.
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Denning, a District Court judge since 2010, was in private practice with Kieran Shanahan, a former member of Gov. Pat McCrory’s Cabinet. Denning worked in the insurance industry for Michael Malone, the brother of Chris Malone, a Republican in the state House of Representatives.
Michael Denning, R 41.86%
Rebecca “Becky” Holt 58.14%