UPDATED: State Sen. Josh Stein is stepping into the race for North Carolina Attorney General.
The Raleigh Democrat spent Monday traveling around the state announcing his campaign for the statewide office in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh.
Stein has spent four terms in the state Senate representing Wake County and previously served eight years as senior deputy attorney general for consumer protection at the N.C. Department of Justice.
Current Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper is planning to run against Gov. Pat McCrory for governor in 2016.
In Raleigh Monday, Stein cited his time at the N.C. DOJ as one of his strongest qualifications for attorney general saying, “I know this job.”
“As attorney general I will protect families from violent crime. I’ll protect seniors and consumers from scammers and corporations that break the law,” he said standing on the steps of the state Democratic Party headquarters. “And I’ll protect North Carolina’s taxpayers by stamping out medicaid fraud.
“I’ll stand up for those who work hard and play by the rules and I will take on big corporations and politicians when they don’t because no one is above the law.”
Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson is seeking the Republican nomination. Newton said Monday in a statement that Stein’s campaign announcement tour in the state’s metropolitan centers is “indicative of the type of big money, soundbite-oriented campaign Stein will run.”
“Josh Stein is a typical left-wing politician who would seek to continue the disturbing trend of letting Washington decide what is best for North Carolina,” Newton said. “Roy Cooper’s protege will continue to champion big government while ignoring the Constitution, individual liberties and the people of North Carolina.”
The state Republican Party wasted no time linking Stein to John Edwards, the former U.S. Senator who was also a candidate for president and vice president until his political career was derailed because he had an affair. Stein managed Edwards’ successful campaign for Senate a decade earlier, and served as his deputy chief of staff and legal counsel.
Stein was working for the state justice department at the time of Edwards’ affair. Asked about his ties to the disgraced politician, Stein said he would run on his record.
“I served eight years as senior deputy attorney general standing up for people against powerful interests making sure they got a fair shake. For the last seven years I fought for the middle class in the legislature. That’s the record the voters will vote on. I’m hopeful that they will support me.”
Other attorney general candidate potentials are Forsyth County prosecutor Jim O’Neill and Fayetteville attorney Tim Dunn. Both have said they would likely run.
As of June 30, Stein had more than $1.1 million in campaign funds.