Buckle up, the 2024 Campaigns have Begun
When the 2024 filing window closed at noon on Friday, December 15, the LPNC had an incredible 46 candidates file for 44 races. In total, we will have candidates running in four Council of State races, four federal congressional races, 13 NC Senate races, 16 NC House races, and seven local municipal races. We also currently have ten candidates to consider for our presidential preference poll (the nominee is chosen at national convention).
While some candidates have been campaigning for a while now, most will begin to ramp things up in the next few weeks. Libertarians can mark their calendars for the primary day vote on March 5, when Mike Ross and Shannon Bray will see who made the better case to NC voters for the governor candidacy, and House District 44 voters will select either Christina Aragues or Angel Yaklin to be their candidate. Primaries are relatively uncommon for the LPNC, especially two in one year, but this just marks one example of a growing surge of excitement that is translating into action.
Political and Policy Director, and Lieutenant Governor candidate, Dee Watson agreed with this sentiment. "First and foremost, thank you to all our amazing candidates who filed. They are giving voters in NC the only real choice for freedom in the state. It is impossible to quantify the personal investments our candidates have made so far, but the total amount they spent on their filing fees surpasses the state party's budget on operational items. They donate their time and treasure and do it to give voters a true freedom option. I am in awe of them.
"This year I really concentrated on helping candidates across the state file for office. In the 2022 election cycle I was on the Wake EC and worked with the great Brad Hessel and watched how he recruited and placed candidates. In the 2022 first filing there were 19 candidates from Wake and only 11 from the 99 other counties. After I became the LPNC Pollical & Policy Director, I really wanted to expand the Wake apparatus for candidate recruitment to the rest of the state. This year, as always, Wake did an amazing job. They ran more state legislature candidates than the Republicans.
"But the story this time is that a lot of counties are stepping up. This year, the other 99 counties ran 32 candidates, nearly tripling the prior year's total! Wake still sets the standard, and I haven’t managed to approach their success, but this huge improvement is encouraging, and show Liberty spreading across the state. I want to give a special shoutout to Cumberland and Durham counties who worked to recruit candidates and now have similar candidate/registered Libertarians numbers as Wake County.
"There are two people who went above and beyond. Ryan Brown, the state chair, created the website for the candidates, helped me organize the board of elections download, and found the candidates in non-partisan races. He is an incredible asset to the LPNC, and he does so much for candidates for which I am so grateful. Christina Aragues, our Candidate's Coordinator, has an unmatched passion for Liberty candidates. She brings much needed insight and energy to the team in a way that no one else does.
"We obviously have lots of work to do, getting people to file is just the first step. Next, we plan to get candidates on our web page, help them with social media, get them connected in MatterMost and introduce them to the rest of the Libertarians in NC."
There are a number of intriguing candidates and races this election cycle. Steve Feldman is a first-time candidate running for U.S. Congressional District 10. While he will be competing with some recognizable names in NC politics, they will have to focus on the primary first, giving him the opportunity to make his case to the unaffiliated voters who now dominate NC registrations. Steve plans to run a campaign based on aggressive civility and a commitment to principle. "I became a Libertarian because our ideals resonate with me. I think the electorate is ready for a breath of fresh air to replace the stale politics of polarization that set people against each other. I’m confident that, like us, our opponents truly want what’s best for people, and I refuse to demonize them as we debate what policies will best achieve that. I greatly appreciate the support of our state party and the enthusiasm and guidance they’ve given me in this quest," Steve told the Tar Heel.
Another race worth watching at the federal level is U.S. Congressional District 3, where Gheorghe Cormos is the Libertarian candidate. Gheorghe, who previously ran for Town of Cape Carteret Commissioner, will go head-to-head with Republican Greg Murphy, as the Democrats did not field a candidate in that race. Murphy has skeletons in his closet, even by politician standards. He has a voting history that aligns with support for big government and more regulation. He is chair, vice-chair, or member on eight state legislative committees, including the ABC Committee, completely intertwined with a political machine his party claims to want to restrain. He also has a series of controversies in his past, including a tweet (which he later deleted) implying that woman could not be raped because they actually want it. He also raised significant objection to Davidson College removing a requirement that its president and trustees generally be Christians.
The Tar Heel will profile all our candidates in the coming months, and will also provide details on how you can support campaigns, attend events, volunteer, and vote. Additionally, information on all the candidates will be posted to the LPNC website over the next couple weeks, and updated throughout the year. We will include websites, social media, videos, and much more. We will be contacting all the candidates over the next week to help you get started with the resources available from the state party.