Clock ticking for Wagoner as U.S. attorney; Hagan lists nominees who might replace her
By Mark Wineka
The spoils of victory for Democrats in 2009 probably mean Anna Mills Wagoner’s days as U.S. attorney for the Middle District in North Carolina are numbered.
U.S. attorneys are appointed by the president for four-year terms, with their appointments subject to Senate confirmation.
They can continue in office beyond the terms until a successor is appointed and qualified.
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., submitted a list of potential appointees for each of the three U.S. attorney jobs in North Carolina, including the one held by Wagoner.
Hagan is expected to have considerable influence on the appointments because she belongs to the Democratic Party, as does President Barack Obama.
The U.S. attorney positions are usually filled by appointees with similar political allegiances as the sitting president. Wagoner, who lives in Salisbury, has been U.S. attorney in the Middle District since Nov. 16, 2001.
She was appointed by then President George W. Bush. Her office is in Greensboro.
Hagan’s office said the senator created a four-person committee, led by former N.C. Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, to offer a group of screened and qualified candidates from which Hagan made her list.
The potential replacements for Wagoner are Wake County Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand, son of N.C. Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand; Yanceyville attorney R. Lee Farmer; and Superior Court Judge Susan Taylor, who holds court in Rowan County, among other counties.
North Carolina also has Eastern and Western U.S. District Courts. George Holding of Raleigh is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District; Ed Ryan of Charlotte, the Western District.
Hagan has asked Obama not to replace Holding for now pending the completion of investigations involving former U.S. Sen. John Edwards and former Gov. Mike Easley.
She has submitted three names as potential replacements for Holding nonetheless.
Hagan also has submitted three names each for two federal judgeships and three U.S. marshals.
Wagoner served as a District Court judge in Rowan County from 1990 until her appointment as U.S. attorney in 2001. She was chief District Court judge here from 1994 to 2001.
For the Middle District, Wagoner oversees 24 lawyers who serve as assistant U.S. attorneys and a support staff of 30 employees.