Deberry, Dunn and Jackson running in Democratic primary for attorney general

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Satana Deberry, Tim Dunn and Jeff Jackson are running in the Democratic Party primary for attorney general of North Carolina on March 5.

Deberry and Jackson have led in polls and media attention. Incumbent Josh Stein is running for governor rather than seeking reelection.

Deberry is the state’s 16th District prosecuting attorney, responsible for Durham County. She earlier worked as a defense attorney, general counsel to the state Department of Health and Human Services, and executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition.

Deberry says she is a progressive prosecutor, which she defines as being “not just focused on the punishment part of prosecution … looking at each individual case and trying to come up with a resolution that is both fair and just.”

Deberry says she is running to bring her model of prosecution from Durham County to the statewide justice system.

Jackson has represented the 14th Congressional District since 2022. Jackson launched his campaign for attorney general after the 14th District’s boundaries were changed during redistricting and became more favorable to Republicans.

Jackson said the boundary change was “political corruption, and I’ve got news for them. I’m running for attorney general, and I’m going to use that job to go after political corruption.”

Before his election to the U.S. House, Jackson served eight years in the state Senate and three as an assistant district attorney in Gaston County. Jackson says he is running to bring honesty and decency to the attorney general’s office.

The general election will help determine North Carolina’s triplex status. North Carolina is holding elections for all three triplex offices – governor, secretary of state, and attorney general – in 2024. North Carolina has a Democratic triplex because all three officeholders are Democrats.

No Republican has been elected attorney general in North Carolina since 1897. However, local political observers expect the general election to be competitive owing to the candidacy of Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop.

Western Carolina University professor Chris Cooper said the general election was “probably going to go down as the most expensive AG race we’ve had in the state of North Carolina. I don’t know if it will be the most competitive, but I think it will be among the most competitive.”

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