NC FREE interviews Newby, Beasley, other state judicial candidates

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There’s lots of talk about problems related to voting in November’s election, but too little reporting on the candidates. That’s especially true for the races at the bottom of the ballot.

Fortunately, the nonpartisan North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation is sharing video interviews with candidates running for the state’s two highest courts. Executive Director Anna Beavon Gravely interviewed 16 people seeking seats on the N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. Court of Appeals. It’s time consuming to listen to them all, but it’s an important vote given the courts’ obvious power.

Perhaps the most interesting race pits Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who was appointed this year by Gov. Roy Cooper, against Paul Newby, the most senior Supreme Court justice and sole Republican on the seven-member group.

Another Supreme Court contest involves current Appeals Court judges who want to step up. Democrat Lucy Inman, who has served since 2014, is facing Republican Phil Berger Jr., who joined the court in 2016.

Inman is part of Raleigh’s Daniels newspaper family and was a journalist before becoming a lawyer and judge. Berger is a former district attorney and the son of N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, long one of the state’s most influential politicians.

Five Court of Appeals seats are up for election, including two judges — Reuben Young and Chris Brook — who were appointed by Cooper this year. They face Jeff Carpenter, a Superior Court judge in Union County, and District Court Judge Jefferson Griffin of Wake. County, respectively. The Appeals Court is now split between eight Democrats and seven Republicans.

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