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Endorsed 2022 NC Supreme Court Candidate, April Wood

Updated: May 18, 2022

ATPAC, as a CCNC Board Member, participated in the vetting of each NC Supreme Court Candidate. ATPAC Board unanimously agrees with the following analysis and endorsed April Wood for NC Supreme Court. Candidates (

CCNC Analysis 2022 Supreme Court

Four republican candidates filed to compete for the two Supreme Court seats on the ballot in November 2022- the seat being vacated by Democrat Robin Hudson, and the seat currently held by Democrat Sam (Jimmy) Ervin, IV. One Republican, Appeals Court Judge Richard Dietz, has filed to run for the open seat held by Hudson. Three other republicans – Appeals Court Judge April Wood, Attorney Victoria Prince of Guilford County, and Attorney Trey Allen of the NC Admin Office of the Courts have filed to compete for the Ervin seat on the state’s high court. ​ Three of these declared candidates were thoroughly vetted against a comprehensive mix of constitutionally relevant conservative standards by executives of the Conservative Coalition between November 2021 and January 2022. Victoria Prince neglected to accept our offer to be vetted and failed to submit any materials to our team. The three remaining judge candidates were found to be well-grounded in constitutional principles and all were supremely articulate in applying logic, precedent, and constitutionally sound precepts in analyzing existing case law. This set of vetted candidates is every bit as talented and capable as the 2020 slate of republican judges and justices we elected to serve the state’s interests. Still, only two may advance as candidates for the November 2022 Supreme Court ballot. ​ Appeals Court Judge Richard Dietz is unopposed in a primary race to compete for the vacant Hudson seat and he will be facing Appeals Court Judge Lucy Inman in that race, the same judge Justice Phil Berger defeated in 2020. CCNC believes Dietz is eminently well qualified to compete and win that race, though Inman will be receiving substantial funding and support from left-leaning groups. Dietz has a solid plan for competing statewide and his professional resume is much stronger than Inman’s. He should perform well. ​ Two republicans competing for the Ervin seat are superbly qualified, but the two are quite different in organization, campaign strategy, judicial experience, and personality. Judge April Wood has 20+ years of bench experience in both trial court and appeals court service. She has run six successful campaigns, the last of which was her 2020 statewide campaign landing a seat on the state Appeals Court, scoring the second highest vote total ever in a statewide court race. She is gregarious, confident, focused and a fierce competitor. Judge Wood is highly esteemed among grassroots conservatives around the state. She is considered the second best known and respected appellate-level judge in the state behind Chief Justice Paul Newby. ​ Trey Allen possesses a long resume of diverse legal services in both military and civil practice. He has been a strong conservative advocate and opinion writer at the UNC School of Government (SOG) for over a decade. He has an extensive history of scholarly writing relevant to case law in North Carolina. Allen is a trusted confidante of Chief Justice Newby, having previously clerked for Newby. Allen made a recent transition from the UNC SOG to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) so he can more readily serve the Chief Justice in the administration of AOC. ​ Our CCNC executives were duly impressed with both candidates for the Ervin seat. We believe both are capable of serving as an Associate Justice beginning in 2023. Our team was unanimous, though, in endorsing Judge Wood over Attorney Allen for the Republican nomination. The Democrat opponent, incumbent Justice Jimmy Ervin, is widely known and respected around North Carolina and he will have a strong campaign team and financing to defend his seat. It will take an unusually strong republican candidate to defeat him, someone of the caliber of Judge Wood with a strong and energetic campaign team. ​ Several attributes set Judge Wood apart from Allen. She has over 18 years of trial court experience and will have two years of Appeals Court judging experience by the November 2022 election. Mr. Allen lacks that extensive judging experience. Although he is no stranger to the courtroom, his judicial temperament and courtroom proclivities are unknown. CCNC believes it risky to elevate unproven judges to the state’s highest court. ​ Secondly, statewide Supreme Court races require enormous time and energy to be successful. Judge Wood won repeatedly in her five district court races, then in 2020, she won her statewide Appeals Court race convincingly, proving her mettle by securing 71,000 more votes than Chief Justice Newby received in his narrowly decided Chief Justice race. ​ Thirdly, Judge Wood brings important trial court experience to the state high court that few of the justices possess. The citizens of North Carolina deserve a blend of judges with diverse judicial experience for the court to properly weigh and factor lower court matters that matriculate to the Supreme Court level on appeal, challenging justices to be more than mere constitutional scholars. Judge Wood would bring unmatched trial court experience judging family and civil law cases to the high court. ​ CCNC believes it imperative for the NCGOP to field an opponent who matches up well against and who can defeat Justice Ervin in November; particularly because this court is presently dominated by democrats, 4-3. Mr. Allen has never run for any elective office. Although he may be a fast learner, the campaign for state Supreme Court justice is not a forge from which we can produce a trained and ready jurist. No doubt the democrats would emphasize Mr. Allen’s lack of judicial experience to diminish his stature throughout the race, were he the republican nominee. Now, one counter-argument CCNC considered in its deliberations stemmed from the fact that, if successful in her bid for Supreme Court, Judge Wood would have to relinquish her Appeals Court seat for two years to a Roy Cooper appointee. (Note- the same counter-argument can be made about Cooper replacing Judge Dietz.) While this may seem a serious loss to the state Appeals Court, we note that the current advantage is 10-5, republican. Given the solid crop of GOP candidates in the line-up for the four 2022 Appeals Court races, CCNC believes that balance will remain roughly the same (heavily dominated by Republicans) after November 2022. In the final analysis, Cooper’s influence through appointees to the Appeals Court should not be factored as heavily as the need for a Republican to win the Ervin seat on the Supreme Court, where Democrats now out-number Republicans.

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