Featured photo: Republicans Hal Weatherman and Jim O’Neill face off for the seat of lieutenant governor.

On Tuesday, May 14, two Republican candidates for North Carolina lieutenant governor as well as for state auditor will face off in a run-off election.

For these run-off races, only voters registered Republican or unaffiliated voters who voted a Republican ballot in March can cast their vote. Unaffiliated voters who did not vote in the March primary can also cast their vote in the run-off election.

The contest for lieutenant governor is between Wake Forest University grad and political operative Hal Weatherman and current Forsyth County district attorney Jim O’Neill. In the race for state auditor, Republicans Jack Clark and Dave Boliek will face each other on Tuesday.

Lieutenant governors preside over the Senate, and cast votes when the Senate is equally divided. They also perform additional duties as the General Assembly or the Governor assigns them. They serve as the vice-chair on the North Carolina Capital Planning Commission and as a member of the State Board of Education, the North Carolina Charter Schools Advisory Board and the Domestic Violence Commission. They also serve as the successor to the governor. The current lieutenant governor is Republican Mark Robinson who is running for governor.

In the March primary, neither of the top two candidates managed to get the required 30 percent of the vote, which resulted in the need for the May run-off election.

Within a crowded contest of 11 candidates, Weatherman and O’Neill came out on top with 19.6 and 15.8 percent of the Republican vote, respectively. The winner of the Republican run-off will face Democrat Rachel Hunt in November.

During the first primary in the race for state auditor, Jack Clark received 23.2 percent of the vote, to Dave Boliek’s 22.1 percent. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Jessica Holmes in November.

The Office of the State Auditor performs financial statement audits for the state of North Carolina, state agencies, state universities, community colleges and other units of state government. The objective of a financial statement audit is to determine whether an agency’s financial statements are fairly presented.

Early voting for the election started on April 25 and ran through May 11. As of Monday, 446 people had cast their votes in Forsyth County while 1,468 voters had cast their votes in Guilford County.

Who are the lieutenant governor candidates?

Hal Weatherman founded the Electoral Education Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to election integrity and was chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Before that he worked for Forest’s mother, former Charlotte mayor and US Rep. Sue Myrick, an early member of the Tea Party Caucus in the 2000s. He also served on staff for former Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

He calls himself a “principled limited government conservative — fiscal and social” whose main goal as lieutenant governor is to “remove the stigma our society has placed on working in the trades.” He also wants to elevate NC agriculture to the global market, establish continual monitoring of the State Board of Elections and pass a “Heartbeat Bill” outlawing all abortions. He is anti-union. He also wants to create a North Carolina Hall of Fame.

As of January, he had raised more than $400,000 and had more than $43,000 ending cash on hand.

Jim O’Neill was first appointed as Forsyth County district attorney in 2009 and elected three times. He has few policy positions on his website save that he is against casinos and wants to extend police officers to private and faith-based schools.

A prosecutor, he is tough on crime but also recognizes the connection between mental health, addiction and crime. As Forsyth DA, he presided over the death of John Neville in the Forsyth County Jail, in which he charged the corrections officers and a nurse. Ultimately, a grand jury indicted the nurse, but not the officers involved.

In 2023, O’Neill dropped the involuntary manslaughter charges against the nurse. No one was held criminally responsible for Neville’s death. He is head coach for Reynolds High School lacrosse team.

He’s raised more than $89,000 and had about $85,000 ending cash on hand as of January.

Who are the state auditor candidates?

Former Democrat Dave Boliek is a fiscal conservative and traditional Christian who currently serves on the UNC Board of Trustees, and formerly served as the chairman from 2021-23, notably during the Nikole Hannah-Jones controversy.

NC Newsline reported that Boliek was just one of four of the 13 members of the board to vote “no” when it came to granting tenure to Hannah-Jones.

From 1998-2001, Boliek worked as an assistant district attorney in Cumberland County. After leaving, he worked in private practice, with success working “with DMV regulations, ABC regulations and consulting on health care matters,” according to his campaign website.

Boliek has raised more than $447,000 and reported having $395,000 ending cash on hand as of January.

On his website Jack Clark argues that he is the only certified public accountant running for state auditor. At 32 years old, Clark is likely the youngest candidate in the race. Clark attended Duke where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He went on to work as an external auditor for Grant Thornton and currently works on budget policy in the General Assembly.

One of Clark’s platforms includes a willingness to be “agile and responsive to the changes happening in the audit profession” by modernizing tools used, “such as utilizing more data analytics.”

As of December 2023, Clark had raised more than $14,000 and had $9,420 cash on hand.

How to vote

For these run-off races, only voters registered Republican or unaffiliated voters who voted a Republican ballot in March can cast their vote. Unaffiliated voters who did not vote in the March primary can also cast their vote in the run-off election.

For both Forsyth and Guilford Counties, there have been temporary polling location changes made for the run-off election. To find your polling place, visit the NC Voter Lookup website here to confirm your location.

For a list of temporary polling locations changes, visit here for Forsyth County and here for Guilford County.

Polls will be open statewide from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The new rules requiring a photo ID to vote are still in place.

For those that don’t have a valid photo ID, you can still cast your vote using a provisional ballot. Learn more here.

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