WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A battle between two Republicans in the non-partisan race for North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice took an interesting turn today, when Gov. Pat McCrory said he will appoint one of the candidates to the post.
McCrory today announced Supreme Court Associate Justice Mark Martin will take over as Chief Justice when retiring Sarah Parker leaves at the end of the month.
"Justice Martin has served as the Senior Associate Justice since 2006, and our court is better for it," Gov. McCrory said in a statement. "The humility and integrity of his character has benefited our state, and his knowledge and depth of experience is inimitable. I look forward to his work as Chief Justice as he draws upon his more than 20 years of judicial experience."
Martin's opponent this fall is Brunswick County Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis. Despite also being a Republican, Lewis believes the party is targeting her for choosing to run against Martin by publicly endorsing him and supporting new regulations that would change the way ballots are ordered to list Martin first.
"There are many good things about being a member of the GOP," Lewis told WWAY. "My favorite is the willingness of those of us on the outside looking in to vote against the establishment. We shall proceed accordingly this fall. Their unjust behavior in this race will not determine my beliefs. This is the people's seat, and the people shall decide the outcome of this election. Not party bosses."
McCrory's office says the governor is continuing tradition by appointing the Senior Associate Justice to the Chief Justice vacancy.