Under the Dome

Forsyth County DA launches campaign for attorney general

Forsyth County’s district attorney will become the second Republican running for N.C. attorney general on Monday.

Jim O’Neill plans to launch his campaign Monday afternoon with an event at the Forsyth County Courthouse in Winston-Salem. He’ll face state Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson in the March primary.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is expected to launch his run for governor Monday evening.

On his website, O’Neill says that Cooper should be replaced by someone with prosecutorial experience. “I firmly believe that in order to become the top prosecutor for the state of North Carolina, the best candidate should be experienced in running a prosecutor’s office somewhere in one of our 100 counties,” he said.

That’s a dig at Newton, who’s an attorney in private practice. The only Democratic candidate so far, Sen. Josh Stein of Raleigh, also works for a private law firm but worked for years under Cooper at the attorney general’s office.

O’Neill has been Forsyth’s top prosecutor since 2009 and has worked in the district attorney’s office there since 1997.

The primary challenge from O’Neill could help Stein’s campaign if no other Democrats run. Fayetteville attorney Tim Dunn said last year that he’d seek the Democratic nomination for attorney general, but he hasn’t yet launched a campaign, state Board of Elections records show.