The 2024 primary election season is well underway. For those that want to vote early, early voting runs through March 2 and voters in North Carolina can do same-day registration at a precinct of their choosing. If you’re voting on Election Day, March 5, then you’ll have to go to your assigned precinct. You can find that info here.

The North Carolina Department of Labor is by law tasked with ensuring the health, safety, and general well-being of the state’s workforce and grants the commissioner wide-ranging regulatory and enforcement powers. The commissioner of labor is elected to 4-year terms and does not have a term limit.

Note: Incumbent Josh Dobson, a Republican, announced that he is not running for re-election. Democrat Braxton Winston II was the sole member of his party to run and moves on to the November election.

Luke Farley

While Luke Farley is not a politically experienced candidate, he notes on his website that former Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, who served for 20 years, has endorsed him. He also works as an OSHA lawyer in private practice.

According to his website, he will advocate for “free enterprise,” “common-sense regulation” and “cutting red tape.” One of the main issues Farley notes on his website is his opposition to pandemic workplace mandates being considered by the Dept. of Labor. The new rules would include a mask mandate, social distancing, paid time off for those wanting to get a vaccine and a requirement to keep workers who exhibit symptoms at home.

If elected, Farley said that he would “immediately start working to repeal any new mandates that are imposed.”

By January, Farley had raised more than $154,000 and had about $114,000 ending cash on hand.

Jon Hardister

Greensboro native Jon Hardister is likely the most well-known candidate running for labor commissioner. Hardister has represented the NC House District 59 since 2013 and has spent much of that time serving as the majority whip for the state House.

As a state representative, Hardister has toed the line as a Republican, often reaching across the political aisle to support bipartisan measures. He notably helped bolster the state’s alcohol industry and sponsored bills to protect law enforcement officials who speak out against corruption within their departments, ensure comprehensive civil rights education in schools and that would have established a child-care pilot program this past year.

According to his campaign website, he will focus on “cutting outdated and excessive regulations,” “investing in career-ready education programs” and “[opposing] overreaching from the federal government,” which includes investigating firings related to COVID-vaccine status.

As of December 2023, Hardister had raised $302,000 and had $426,724 cash on hand. In January, he added $100,000 to that through a personal loan.

Chuck Stanley

This will be Chuck Stanley’s second time running for state labor commissioner. In 2020, he ran in the Republican primary where he came in second to Josh Dobson, who went on to win the general election.

According to Stanley’s campaign website, he has worked as a volunteer firefighter, textile worker, sheriff’s deputy, solid waste director and in construction, the field in which he is currently employed.

If elected, Stanley said that he would “work with small, large and in between businesses/companies to make sure all employees/employers know the labor laws, the safety, and the responsibility of all” and would keep an “open-door policy at all times.”

As of January, Stanley reported having $1,236 cash on hand.

Travis J. Wilson

After losing an election for the Union County Board of Commissioners, Travis Wilson is throwing his hat in the ring for state labor commissioner. In the county race, Wilson came in seventh place, garnering close to 4 percent of the vote.

According to his website, Wilson will prioritize safety inspections and a free market. Wilson also links to a free eBook that he has written about his views on American politics.

Wilson has not filed any campaign finance reports.

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