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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There’s now an incumbent in the race for New Hanover County’s state senate seat.

Republican Michael Lee was sworn in this afternoon to fill the 9th District seat Thom Goolsby just quit.

Now that he is in office, Lee will have to balance his job as senator and his campaign for the seat.

“I think it’s going to take a little time away from the campaign, but I’m still going to continue to work hard, get the message out there and let folks know exactly where I stand,” Sen. Lee said. “In addition to that, making sure I get really good input from the citizens of new hanover county, so I know what they’re thinking and feeling as to what’s important.”

Lee is running against Democrat Elizabeth Redenbaugh for the 9th District seat in November.

Lee took his oath today from NC Court of Appeals Judge Bob Hunter, who is also heading to a new job. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Hunter to the NC Supreme Court this morning two months before Hunter is scheduled to run for the same seat.

Hunter will fill the seat of Associate Justice Mark Martin starting Sept. 6. McCrory just tapped Martin to be the new chief justice.

“I hope to learn new things and have new experiences,” Judge Hunter said. “You know, every time you move up the food chain, there’s a different sort of learning that goes on, but I’m going to be fair to everybody. I’ve been pretty fair to people along the way, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

Both Martin and Hunter are seeking full eight year terms in their high court positions in November.

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