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N Carolina state Sen. Stein resigns for attorney general bid

Scott Baughman//March 21, 2016

N Carolina state Sen. Stein resigns for attorney general bid

Scott Baughman//March 21, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Democratic nominee for North Carolina attorney general resigned his state Senate seat Monday to focus on efforts to win the statewide race in November.

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, filed a two-sentence resignation letter, leaving the chamber during his fourth term. He said in a separate statement he didn’t want his campaign efforts to impair the quality of representation of Wake County residents in his district.

“Running for this office is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Stein said in the statement. “I intend to campaign as hard as I know how across the state to better understand the concerns of voters and to share my experience and vision for the office.”

Stein defeated Marcus Williams of Lumberton in last week’s Democratic primary for attorney general by about 7 percentage points. He’ll take on Republican state Sen. Buck Newton in the general election.

Newton remains in the General Assembly. Stein’s decision means he won’t be casting ballots on potentially controversial issues this spring when the legislature reconvenes. For example, lawmakers may be soon asked to vote on legislation that overturn Charlotte’s ordinance that allows transgender people to use the restroom that aligns to their gender identity.

Stein, a former deputy in Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office, was considered one of the strongest voices opposed to Republican policies in the legislature, where he previously was the Senate’s minority whip. Cooper is running for governor.

Wake County Democrats now must choose someone to fill the remainder of Stein’s two-year Senate term through the end of December. Gov. Pat McCrory is obligated to appoint that choice.

A likely replacement is Jay Chaudhuri, who won the Democratic primary last week to succeed Stein. Chaudhuri does have a Republican opponent in the fall. Stein all but endorsed Chaudhuri as his replacement Monday, praising him as an “intelligent, hard-working and highly capable public servant.”

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