This story was first published by NC Newsline, story by Joe Killian

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed papers with the State Board of Elections on Tuesday morning to run for governor, taking the latest step in a campaign he announced in January.

“I’m running for Governor because I believe in the promise of this state – that if you work hard, where you come from should never limit how far you can go,” Stein said in a statement Tuesday after officially filing at the Martin Building at the State Fair Grounds with his wife Anna.

“But that promise is at stake in this election,” Stein said. “After months of meeting with voters across our state, I am more fired up than ever to make good on the promise of North Carolina and work to deliver on the issues that matter to people’s everyday lives.”

Stein, who is entering the final year of his second term as Attorney General, is facing several challengers in the Democratic primary on March 5. Former Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan announced his candidacy after stepping down from the court in September. Marcus Williams and Chrelle Booker, both of whom mounted unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senate in 2022, have also announced their candidacies.

Last month, a Meredith College poll showed Stein with a double-digit lead over Morgan (38-11 percent), his strongest challenger in the primary.

The same poll showed that Lt. Governor Mark Robinson with a strong lead among candidates in the Republican primary. Forty-one percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would support Robinson.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson

All of Robinson’s GOP challengers were significantly behind him, with five percent saying they would vote for GOP businessman Bill Graham and state Treasurer Dale Folwell garnering three percent.

Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they hadn’t yet decided.

Former N.C. Senator Andy Wells has also declared he will run in the GOP primary.

“A large number of Republican voters are undecided,” said David McLennan, director of the Meredith Poll. “There could be a competitive primary, but it looks unlikely unless one of Robinson’s challengers catches fire.”

In a possible head-to-head match-up between Robinson, 55, and Stein, 57, in the General Election, the Meredith poll found Stein prevailing over Robinson by two points (38-36 percent).

Polling showed nearly one in five likely voters hadn’t made their mind up on that match up this far out.

If the Stein and Robinson face off in the general election, voters will face a stark choice on a host of issues.

Stein is an outspoken supporter of reproductive freedom and LGBTQ equality, while Robinson has made opposition to abortion central to his identity and described LGBTQ people as “filth.”

Robinson has also drawn vocal criticism in the past for making use of anti-Semitic slurs, casting doubt on the holocaust and proclaiming Jesus Christ would someday return to Earth and “bring his vengeance” on his enemies. Stein is seeking to be the state’s first Jewish governor.

A poll released by East Carolina University early this month found Robinson edging out Stein in a head-to-head match, 44 to 40 percent. Sixteen percent said they were undecided at this point.

NC Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. NC Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Rob Schofield for questions: [email protected]. Follow NC Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

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