CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina state Sen. Rachel Hunt, the daughter of former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt, announced Wednesday that she'll be a candidate for lieutenant governor next year.
Hunt, a Charlotte Democrat, said she's running for lieutenant governor to bring "honor and integrity back to the office” since current Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson ascended to the post in 2021.
Robinson, who is expected to run for governor in 2024, has been denounced for his comments about sex education in schools that critics say disparaged LGBTQ people. They also cite his support for a complete ban on abortion.
“I’ve had a front row seat to the damage that Lt. Gov. Robinson has done to our state and the office," Hunt said in a statement. “North Carolinians deserve leaders that are focused on the right priorities like expanding access to affordable health care, increasing the minimum wage, investing in our schools, and cleaning up the water we drink and air we breathe.”
A Robinson campaign adviser didn't immediately respond to a request Wednesday seeking comment on Hunt's statement.
While Hunt has been around politics all her life, she only recently became an elected official, winning a House seat in 2018 over then-Rep. Bill Brawley. She moved to the Senate in January after a November election victory.
Hunt is considered more low-key than her father, who has loomed large over North Carolina politics since he was elected lieutenant governor in 1972. He served as governor from 1977 to 1985, and again from 1993 to 2001.
She has been a successful fundraiser; her legislative campaign committee has collected $1 million over the past two years.
The lieutenant governor has waned in terms of inherent political power since the elder Hunt held the position.
Today, the lieutenant governor presides over state Senate debate, voting only during ties. The lieutenant governor sits on a few governing boards, including the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges.
Hunt joins an already a crowded field. Announced candidates include former Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey, a Democrat, and Republican Hal Weatherman, a former aide to previous Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.
Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in North Carolina. Current Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is barred by term limits from seeking reelection next year.