North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced Tuesday that he will forgo reelection in 2020 and instead run for lieutenant governor.
"North Carolina deserves a leader who will fight to make all government more accountable, more efficient, and more transparent," Johnson said in a statement. "That's why today I am declaring my candidacy for lieutenant governor of North Carolina. I've seen first-hand how bad state government can be. I've already been in the trenches fighting the deep state in state bureaucracy."
James Barrett, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education member and candidate for North Carolina superintendent, released a statement Tuesday reacting to Johnson's news.
"Parents, teachers and students can breathe a sigh of relief today that Mark Johnson will no longer do harm to our great state's public education system," Barrett said in the statement.
Barrett announced in January that when his term on the CHCCS board expired, he would not run for reelection, announcing a run for state superintendent instead.
In his statement, Barrett said Johnson's practices during his time in office have "done real damage to public education in North Carolina." Barrett expressed in his statement that Johnson's efforts in advocating for students and teachers on the state and federal level have been unsatisfactory.
"Our state deserves much better," Barrett said. "And I look forward to the opportunity to restore respect and support to our educators through vigorous, transparent, ethical and well-informed leadership as state superintendent."
Barrett is among four Democrats hoping to succeed Johnson, a Republican, as state superintendent. The others are Michael Maher, Jen Mangrum and Keith Sutton. No Republicans have filed to run.
North Carolina's election for superintendent will be held on Nov. 3, 2020. The primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020, and the filing deadline is Dec. 20.
Johnson joins a crowded pool of candidates who have announced campaigns for lieutenant governor, including seven other Republicans: Buddy Bengel, former U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, former Mount Airy, North Carolina Mayor Deborah Cochran, former N.C. Rep. Scott Stone, Mark Robinson, Greg Gebhardt and N.C. Sen. Andy Wells.
Five Democrats are also running: N.C. Rep. Yvonne Holley, N.C. Sen. Terry Van Duyn, Hoke County Commissioner Allen Thomas, Charlotte lawyer Bill Toole and N.C. Rep. Chaz Beasley.
Johnson said his campaign will focus on North Carolinians and their needs.
"This campaign will be about what's best for the working families of North Carolina, not the Media Elites or Establishment Insiders," he said in a statement.
The official filing period for the Nov. 3, 2020 election for lieutenant governor begins in December.
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