One of only two Democrats on North Carolina Supreme Court is resigning

 August 28, 2023

In a move that May come as a shock to Democrats, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan revealed late last week that he will be stepping down. 

According to Wilmington's WWAY 3, Morgan made the announcement on Thursday, saying he has "a desire to make a difference in the state of North Carolina."

Morgan appears to be running for governor

The justice added, "After I get off the court I can focus on how that might best be accomplished," which was likely a reference to previous comments he has made about running for governor.

Morgan also spoke of his plans to step away from North Carolina's highest judicial body in a tweet said that his departure will take effect on September 4.

"With the help of my outstanding staff, all of my opinions [and] assignments have been completed as the Court acts on them and concludes its current cycle in the coming days," he stated.

Governor expected to replace Morgan with another Democrat

WWAY 3 pointed out how Morgan is presently one of only two Democrats who currently sit on the North Carolina Supreme Court, with the other five members being Republicans.

The television station noted that while North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is almost certain to replace Morgan with another Democrat, the new justice will then have to stand for election next fall.

WWAY 3 quoted Cooper as saying he looks "forward to meeting and talking with Justice Morgan and thanking him for his service."

Morgan was among a long list of African-American judges and attorneys that Cooper singled out for recognition this past February at a black history month event.

Morgan may "shake up" Democratic primary race

Meanwhile, WWAY 3  stressed that Morgan's departure could well "shake up" the primary race for North Carolina Democrats, something which was previously regarded as something of a "foregone conclusion."

Attorney General Josh Stein has thus far been the only other Democrat to express gubernatorial ambitions and has garnered a slew of endorsements, including from former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Samuel James Ervin IV.

For their part, North Carolina Republicans are witnessing a five-way primary race headed up by Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

The other GOP contenders are State Treasurer Dale Folwell, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, State Board of Transportation member Andy Wells, and retired insurance executive Jesse Thomas.

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