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Political notebook: Former Rowan senator will help Cooper in governor bid

Former State Sen. Gene McLaurin, of Rockingham, won’t challenge Tom McInnis for the 25th District seat. Instead, McLaurin plans to help Attorney General Roy Cooper in a bid for governor, according to a story in the Richmond County Daily Journal.

McLaurin served as a state senator from 2012 to 2014. In a hotly contested race, he was upset in the 2014 election by McInnis. Instead of a second bout with McInnis, McLaurin will serve on a statewide finance committee for Cooper’s campaign, the Daily Journal reported. McLaurin appeared with Cooper on Monday in Rocky Mount as the attorney general officially announced his campaign for governor.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for me to help somebody I have a lot of confidence in,” McLaurin told the newspaper. “There are other ways to be involved in public service than being an elected official.”

The 25th Senate District extends from Scotland County to southern Rowan. Its northern edges cover China Grove, Rockwell and the Gold Hill area.

Prior to serving in the state senate, McLaurin was mayor of Rockingham from 1997 to 2012.

Butner’s replacement could be selected by November election

Mac Butner’s former position on the Rowan County Board of Elections may not be empty for long.

Following a Thursday decision to remove Butner, State Board of Elections Chairman Josh Howard said the position could be filled before November’s municipal elections. The Rowan County Board of Elections is down to two members following Thursday’s decision. Rowan’s board can still function with two members. If the remaining two — John Hudson and Dave Collins — are split on a vote, a final decision will be forwarded to the state board.

When asked about appointing Butner’s replacement, Howard said the state plans to have the position filled before November’s elections.

“The state party, I think, has to forward us new names, and we will act on that very promptly,” Howard said. “They suspected this was coming and had called for his resignation some time ago. So hopefully we will be able to replace that member very promptly.”

The Rowan County Republican Party will send names of two candidates to the state party. Then, the State Board of Election will pick a final appointee.

Fitzimon will speak during Rowan Democratic Party meeting

NC Policy Watch Director Chris Fitzsimon will be the speaker at the monthly meeting of the Rowan County Democrats on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.

The meeting will be in the commissioners’ room of Rowan County’s administration building, 130 W. Innes Street in Salisbury. Fitzsimon spoke to the Rowan County Democratic Party earlier this year while the N.C. General Assembly was in session.

Now, Fitzsimon will return to speak about misplaced priorities and missed opportunities during the legislative session.

North Carolina Policy Watch is a public policy think tank based in Raleigh.

Fitzsimon has previously worked for the Campaign to Protect America’s Lands in Washington, The Common Sense Foundation in Raleigh, and has been published in the New York Times, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Nation and the Columbia Journalism Review. He has also been an award-winning TV news reporter for N.C. Pubic Television and WRAL.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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