Get to know your ballot

This Ballot Crash Course will walk you through the basics of who's who on your Durham, NC ballot to help inform your voting decisions in the 2020 General Election. While this resource is by no means exhaustive, it's got all your need-to-knows in a digestible format and is a great place to start.

Federal Offices

Federal offices are nationwide elected positions: the President, Senate, and House of Representatives. 

You may only vote for one candidate. 

Federal Offices

Federal Offices are nationwide elected positions: the President, Senate, and House of Representatives. You may only vote for one candidate

US Senate

Two Senators are elected from each state (100 total) to serve 6 year terms in Congress. In North Carolina, Sen. Thom Tillis' seat is up for election in 2020.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R)
Tillis Toplines
  • Prioritizes tangible economic growth for working families, opposing regulation and high taxes as a major impediment​

  • Opposes the ACA but is committed to protecting patients with preexisting conditions

  • One of the 22 Senators that urged President Trump to leave the Paris Climate Accords

  • ​Votes in agreement with Trump 93.4% of the time

Cal Cunningham (D)
Cunningham Toplines
  • Running as a leader who will look out for North Carolinians, not corporate special interests.

  • Believes in a fair and tangible economy for all and promoting good-paying full-time jobs with benefits

  • Supports protecting and expanding the ACA and Medicaid  

  • Prioritizes improving the education system and taking on the crisis of climate change

US House of Representatives:
District 4

Members of the US House of Representatives are elected in districts to serve 2 year terms in the US Congress. In North Carolina's 4th District, Rep. David E. Price's seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Rep. David E. Price (D)
Price Toplines
  • Has served 15 terms and won last election in 2018 with 75% of the vote.

  • Previously a Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke U

  • Strong supporter of: education, accessible health care, affordable housing, clean air and water, scientific research, improved transportation alternatives

  • Longtime advocate for biomedical and environmental research

Robert Thomas (R)
Thomas Toplines
  • Won Republican primary with 48.6% of the vote.

  • Slogan is 'Conservative Values'

  • Disgusted by treatment of Trump by 'Washington insiders' and 'Pelosi's soldiers' 

  • Three campaign pillars are (1) The Wall; (2) The Constitution; (3) The Second Amendment

State Offices:
Statewide positions

These offices are statewide elected positions, serving as the leaders and executives of the various branches of NC state government. You may only vote for one candidate.

Click to navigate the statewide ballot:

NC Governor

NC Lieutenant Governor

NC Secretary of State

NC Attorney General

NC Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner

NC Auditor

NC Treasurer

NC Superintendent of Public Instruction

NC Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshall

NC Labor Commissioner 

NC Governor

The Governor is the highest executive office in each state and serves as the commander-in chief and head executive for terms of 4 years. In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper's seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D)
Cooper Toplines
  • Steadfast priorities: “good-paying jobs, strong public schools, access to quality, affordable health care, and a safer and more just North Carolina."

  • Fierce opponent to HB2 ("bathroom bill")

  • Formed North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice following George Floyd's murder with Executive Order 15

  • Addressed problem of equal pay for the women with Executive Order 93

  • Launched NC’s Clean Energy Plan

  • Strongly opposes the termination of DACA

Dan Forest.jpg
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R)
Forest Toplines
  • Running on three-legged platform: (1) Smaller government; (2) Lower taxes; (3) Personal responsibility

  • Vocal critic of Gov. Cooper’s COVID response, urging state to open

  • Believes in school choice and local control over public schools

  • Highly devout and aligned with socially conservative views, especially on abortion

  • Vocal supporter of NC HB2 ("bathroom bill")

NC Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor is the executive office next in rank to the Governor and the President of the NC Senate (upper house of the NC General Assembly), serving terms of 4 years. In North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's seat is up for grabs in 2020, as he is running for Governor.

Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (D)
Holley Toplines
  • Running on her “Affordable Living Initiative”: access to healthy food, workforce development, public education, affordable housing​

  • Strongly supports criminal justice reform, particularly on the bail system

  • Focus on environmental justice and fighting pollution in poor, minority communities

  • Supports guaranteed access to a safe abortion and equal wages for NC women

Mark Robinson.jpeg
Mark Robinson (R)
Robinson Toplines
  • Gained national recognition for Second Amendment advocacy

  • Served on the Board of Directors of the NRA

  • Believes in sanctity of life from conception

  • Committed to seeing a decrease in taxes and regulations.

  • Has called COVID-19 a 'globalist' conspiracy to destroy Donald Trump

NC Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is a statewide elected official, serving 4 year terms and heading the Department of the State, which oversees many of the economic and business-related operations of the state government. In North Carolina, Sec. Elaine Marshall's seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Sec. Elaine Marshall (D)
Marshall Toplines
  • Made history in 1997 as first woman in NC to be elected to statewide office

  • Committed to combating financial fraud, protecting North Carolinians, and recovering their dollars

  • Prioritizes making NC an easy and affordable place to do business and cutting red tape for entrepreneurs when possible

E.C. Sykes (R)
Sykes Toplines

Has three priorities for his campaign:

  • Cutting waste and limiting the size of government 

  • Increased transparency and efficiency

  • Improving NC's business environment

NC Attorney General

The Attorney General is a statewide elected office and the state's chief legal officer, providing legal representation and advice to all state government departments, agencies and commissions and writing legal opinions and litigates in criminal appeals cases. The AG is elected in Presidential election years and is not subject to term limits. In North Carolina, AG Josh Stein's seat is up for grabs in 2020.

AG Josh Stein (D)
Stein Toplines

Running for reelection on 4 broad issues:

  • Public Safety: supporting victims of violence, prioritizing reentry programming, shift to community based policing

  • Protecting Senior and Consumers: combatting predatory lenders

  • Preserving Clean Air and Water: taking on polluters, no questions asked

  • Promoting Public Health: fighting to protect the ACA, combat opioid crisis

DA Jim O'Neill (R)
O'Neill Toplines

Focused on three shortcomings of Stein’s time in office:

  • Finally clearing the backlog of rape kits

  • Providing more support to federal immigration policy

  • Continuing to fight the opioid crisis

NC Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner

Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner is a statewide elected office. In North Carolina, Commissioner Steve Troxler's seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Comm. Steve Troxler (R)
Troxler Toplines
  • Focused on developing new markets for NC farm products, preserving working farms and protecting the state’s food supply

  • Oversaw massive growth in the agricultural-business sector in North Carolina

  • Led nationally recognized campaigns to bring business to NC

Jennifer Austin Wadsworth (D)
Wadsworth Toplines

Says she's uniquely qualified to address:

  • Climate change

  • Advocating for small family farmers and creating new crop markets

  • Bridging the rural-urban divide in North Carolina

NC Auditor

The Auditor is a statewide elected office in the executive branch who acts as a watchdog for the state government, elected every 4 years. In North Carolina, Auditor Beth Wood's seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Aud. Beth Wood (D)
Wood Toplines
  • As auditor, has continued to identify wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars and save the state millions

  • Prides herself on maintaining objectivity and independence in the Auditor’s Office

Tony Wayne Street (R)
Street Toplines

Running on three key messages:

  • Knowing how and where your tax dollars are being spent

  • Fighting for accountability and transparency

  • Make your Auditor's Office serve your needs

NC Treasurer

The Treasurer is a statewide elected office in the executive branch who acts as chief financial officer and official banker for the state, elected every 4 years. In North Carolina, Treasurer Dale Folwell's seat is up for election in 2020.

Treas. Dale Folwell (R)
Folwell Toplines
  • Committed himself to increasing transparency and efficiency in the State Treasury

  • Worked hard to propose reform intended to reduce costs for all

  • Saved North Carolinians hundreds of millions of dollars by coming down hard on Wall Street

Ronnie Chatterji (D)
Chatterji Toplines
  • Professor of Business and Public Policy at Duke University

  • Committed to leading North Carolina through responsible investments, increasing equity, expanding access to financial services and bettering our health care system

  • Sees climate change as a key issue affecting how we invest in our future

NC Superintendent of Public Instruction

The Superintendent of Public Instruction is a statewide elected office, elected every 4 years. In North Carolina, Superintendent Mark Johnson (R) is not running for reelection and his seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Jen Mangrum (D)
Catherine Truitt (R)
NC Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshall

The Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshall is a statewide elected office, elected every 4 years. In North Carolina, Superintendent Mark Johnson (R) is not running for reelection and his seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Comm. Mike Causey (R)
Wayne Goodwin (D)
NC Labor Commissioner

This race determines whose face you'll see in every NC elevator for the next 4 years. The Labor Commissioner is a statewide elected office. In North Carolina, Commissioner Cherie Berry of elevator fame is not running for reelection and her seat is up for grabs in 2020.

Jessica Holmes (D)
Rep. Josh Dobson (R)
State Offices:
NC General Assembly

The General Assembly is the state legislature of North Carolina, comprised of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 50 members - one per Senate district - elected every two years and the House of Representatives has 120 members - one per House district - elected every two years. In 2018, Republicans lost their supermajority in both chambers, but still hold simple majorities in both (29-21 and 65-55 respectively). All 170 seats in the NC General Assembly are up for grabs in 2020. 

Note: North Carolina's state legislative district maps are the subject of ongoing legal action.

Click to navigate local General Assembly races:

NC State Senate (upper house)

NC State House of Representatives (lower house)

NC State Senate

The Senate is the upper house of the NC state legislature with 50 seats, all of which are up for grabs in 2020.

Senate District 20

NC Senate District 20 covers part of Durham county. 6+ term Senator Floyd B. McKissick Jr. (D) resigned in January 2020 to join his new job at the Utilities Commission. His seat was temporarily filled by 19+ term Representative Henry M. Michaux Jr. (D) before Gov. Cooper appointed freshman Senator Natalie S. Murdock on April 1, 2020, who is running to keep her seat. Nearly 200,000 residents live in this district.

Sen. Natalie Murdock (D)
Murdock Toplines
  • Believes we must stop locking people up for non-violent and minor drug offenses

  • Supporter of the Green New Deal as a leader who is responsive to challenges of climate change

  • Says she will for the 13% of Durham residents without health care

John Tarantino (R)
Tarantino Toplines
  • Wants to give voters a choice, so they don't have to go into a voting booth and see one name

Senate District 22

NC Senate District 22 covers parts of Durham, Granville, and Wake counties. In 2020, 4+ term state Senator Mike Woodward (D) is running for reelection against Republican and Libertarian challengers.

Sen. Mike Woodward (D)
Woodward Toplines

​Three top priorities: 

  • Strong economy 

  • Accessible, affordable healthcare 

  • Effective education

Rick Padgett (R)
Padgett Toplines
  • Believes schools need to be safer by increasing presence of law enforcement in every NC school

  • Believes the “War on Police” has reached new heights

  • Believes NC is in desperate need of mental health care

Senate District 54

[Coming Soon]

Sen. Robert T. Reives (D)
Reives Toplines
  • Longtime advocate of strengthening education system; intends to raise NC teacher salaries to the national average, reduce class size, and put resources into classrooms. 

  • Environment: Long term benefits over short term gain

  • Believes we must increase jobs by attracting high tech manufacturing jobs that pay good wages/

George Gilson Jr.
Gilson Toplines

Key messages of campaign:


1.Less taxes


2.Fiscal responsibility


3.Common sense conservatism

NC State House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the NC state legislature with 120 seats, all of which are up for grabs in 2020.

House District 29

NC House District 29 covers part of Durham county. In March, District 29 Rep. MaryAnn Black was undergoing cancer treatment when she tragically passed away in her Durham home. Freshman Sen. Vernetta Alston was appointed by Gov. Cooper to fill the seat and is running unopposed in 2020.

Sen. Vernetta Alston (D)
House District 30

NC House District 30 covers part of Durham county. Incumbent Sen. Marcia Morey (D) is running for reelection against Libertarian challenger Gavin Bell.

Sen. Marcia Morey (D)
Gavin Bell (L)
House District 31

NC House District 31 covers part of Durham county. Incumbent Sen. Zack Hawkins (D) is running for reelection against Libertarian challenger Sean Haugh.

Sen. Zack Hawkins (D)
Sean Haugh (L)
County Offices:
Countywide positions
Durham Board of Commissioners
Heidi Carter (D)
Brenda Howerton (D)
Nida Allam (D)
Nimasheena Burns (D)
Wendy Jacobs (D)
Durham Register of Deeds

The mission of the Register of Deeds is to be the legal custodian of Durham County with jurisdiction over all land titles and land transactions. Beyond that, the Register also is in charge of administering other miscellaneous documents like birth, death, and marriage certificates. The Durham county incumbent Sharon Davis is running unopposed in this election. 

Sharon Davis (D)
Durham Superior Court Judge

The Superior Courts hear both civil and criminal cases. This includes civil cases that involve more than $25,000 and all felony criminal cases. The Superior Court is divided into five divisions and 48 districts across the state. The Durham county incumbent Orlando Hudson is running unopposed in 2020.

Orlando Hudson (D)
Durham Court Judge

District Courts are in charge of hearing cases involving civil, criminal, and magistrate matters. The incumbent Shamieka Rhinehart is running unopposed in this years election. 

Shamieka Rhinehart (D)
Durham Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor
Anjali Boyd
Terence Priester