Under the Dome

Sen. Barefoot draws challenger

A Democratic challenger to second-term Republican state Sen. Chad Barefoot announced his candidacy Monday.

Gil Johnson, who is the chairman of the Franklin County Board of Education, will tap into the controversy over whether the Republican-controlled legislature has adequately funded public schools.

“The people of Wake and Franklin counties want a representative that will stand up for the core issues that families care about,” Johnson said in a statement. “They want strong public schools that will provide a safe environment for their children and grandchildren and will prepare them for the challenges that lay ahead.”

The Youngsville man seeks the 18th District seat, which includes Franklin County and a swath of eastern Wake County. He is a retired air traffic controller and has been on the school board since 2005, serving as chairman for the past four years.

Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue of Raleigh said the Democratic Party is actively recruiting candidates for the General Assembly, and praised Johnson as a good choice.

Barefoot served as co-chairman of the Senate budget and standing committees on education.