RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s insurance commissioner from 2009 through 2016 wants the job again.
Democrat Wayne Goodwin announced Tuesday he’ll run for commissioner next year, setting up a potential rematch with current Commissioner Mike Causey, the Republican who beat him in 2016. Causey already announced he’s seeking a second term.
Goodwin has been the state Democratic Party chair since his defeat. He was a state legislator and assistant insurance commissioner until his 2008 election victory for commissioner. In a news release, Goodwin blamed Causey for higher insurance rates and says politics is getting in the way of health care savings.
“There’s a lot of work left to be done, and I know I am up for the job,” Goodwin said in a news release.
Causey has said he’s worked to help lower insurance costs, hold insurance companies accountable and fight corruption. He gained attention this year after federal prosecutors said he reported an alleged bribe attempt against him and helped authorities gather evidence. Four people were indicted in the matter, including then-state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes. Hayes accepted a plea agreement last month.
The April indictment accuses insurance magnate Greg Lindberg of planning to funnel up to $2 million for Causey’s 2020 re-election campaign in exchange for special treatment for his insurance businesses. Causey faces no charges.
Before the charges, Lindberg had become a mega-political donor in North Carolina, giving more than $5 million since 2016 to state and federal candidates and committees. Campaign finance records show Lindberg gave $10,000 to Goodwin’s 2016 campaign and $450,000 to a committee that produced pro-Goodwin commercials.
Goodwin has not been accused of wrongdoing and he said in April he never performed favors for Lindberg while commissioner.
Goodwin would have to step aside from his duties as state Democratic Party chair if he’s in a contested primary, but he’d return to the post when the primary ends, spokeswoman Kimberly Reynolds said.