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Trey Allen wins GOP primary for North Carolina Supreme Court

Battles for seats on the state's highest courts are increasingly in the spotlight. The state Supreme Court is contending with ongoing issues such as redistricting, voter ID and K-12 education funding.

Posted Updated
North Carolina Supreme Court
By
Brian Murphy, Bryan Anderson
and
Laura Leslie, WRAL News

Trey Allen won the Republican primary for North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice on Tuesday, defeating two fellow Republicans to earn a chance to flip the court to a GOP majority.

Allen, the general counsel for the state's administrative office of the courts, received more than 55% of the vote, easily defeating appellate court judge April Wood (36%) and Victoria Prince (8%).

Allen will face Democratic incumbent Associate Justice Sam J. Ervin IV in the November general election. Ervin, who was unopposed in the primary, is seeking a second eight-year term on the bench of the state's highest court.

Allen, a lawyer with extensive administrative experience but no judicial experience, was backed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby as well as state Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and his son, Supreme Court Associate Justice Phil Berger Jr.

Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the Supreme Court, but the seats held by Ervin and fellow Democrat Robin Hudson are the only ones up in November.

Hudson, who is completing her second eight-year term, is not running for reelection. She would reach the mandatory retirement age of 72 in 2024. Republican Richard Dietz and Democrat Lucy Inman — both members of the Court of Appeals —will face off in November for Hudson’s seat. Neither faced opposition in the primary.

Republicans need to win just one race to have a majority on the court.

Battles for seats on the state’s highest courts are increasingly in the spotlight. The Supreme Court is contending with ongoing issues such as redistricting, voter identification and education funding.
The potential reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision could also bring culture-war issues like abortion and same-sex marriage before the panel. The Supreme Court, as it has in the past, could also be asked to weigh in on matter related to the 2024 presidential election.

Democrats held a 6-1 majority on the state Supreme Court before the 2020 elections. But Republicans won all three elections in 2020, netting two seats including Newby's narrow victory over then-Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.

Republicans won all eight statewide judicial races in 2020, including five appellate court races.

On his campaign website, Allen said he "believes judges must follow the Constitution as originally understood and the laws as written."

Ervin is the grandson of former U.S. Sen. Sam J. Ervin Jr. and the son of former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin III. On his website, Ervin said he says he wants to "protect a fair and impartial court."

Appeals Court

Chief Judge Donna Stroud defeated Beth Freshwater Smith in the GOP primary for North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge (Seat 9). Stroud won 59% of the vote.

Michael J. Standing defeated Charlton L. Allen in the GOP primary for North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge (Seat 11). Standing won 71% of the vote.

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