In a Facebook post published on Monday morning
, state Senator Josh Stein, D-Wake, resigned from his seat in order to focus on the attorney general race, where he won the Democratic primary last Tuesday.
"Last Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of voters across North Carolina gave me the hon or of being the Democratic nominee for Attorney General," he said. "Running for this office is a responsibility I take very seriously. I intend to campaign as hard as I know how across the state to better understand the concerns of voters and to share my experience and vision for the office. I am running to win and do not want my time-consuming campaign efforts to impair the quality of representation that the people of Senate District 16 deserve."
Stein also endorsed Jay Chaudhuri, who last Tuesday handily won the primary to replace Stein in the Sixteenth District, which covers western Wake County, to be his replacement.
"Jay is an intelligent, hard-working, and highly capable public servant, and if chosen, will gain useful experience in the short session that will benefit the people of Senate District 16 in the next long session should he prevail in November."
In a press release, Wake County Democratic Party chairman Brian Fitzsimmons said that "few people have worked harder on behalf of North Carolina families” than Stein.
"He has been a tireless advocate for public schools in Wake County and across North Carolina, and has consistently worked with members of both parties to do what is right for the people of Wake County," Fitzsimmons said. "North Carolina is stronger because people like Senator Stein decide to serve. While his voice will be missed in the Senate, we look forward to him bringing his unmatched commitment to equality and fairness to his role as our next Attorney General.”
The Wake County Democratic Party will hold a executive committee meeting on April 16 to formally choose Stein's replacement. Per state law: “If the district consists solely of one county but includes less than all of the county, the Governor shall appoint the person recommended by the county executive committee of the political party with which the vacating member was affiliated when elected.” Chaudhuri appears to be the front-runner.
Stein will face Republican Buck Newton in the attorney general's race in November, while Chaudhuri will face Eric Weaver in the race for Stein's old seat, which he is expected to easily win.
UPDATE: Chaudhuri put out a statement on the speculation that he could replace Stein.
"Josh Stein has left big shoes to fill in the State Senate, and I'm honored that voters last week chose me to be their Democratic nominee for the seat and that Josh and others are considering me to serve the remainder of his term," he said.
"If the Wake County Democratic Party Executive Committee recommends that I replace Sen. Stein, I look forward to serving the people of Senate District 16 and I will continue to work to earn their support in the Nov. 8th general election."