Dems prepare to fill Foushee’s seat
Tommy McNeil, a Durham business owner, has become the first to publicly announce interest in replacing Valerie Foushee in the District 50 House seat when she moves to the state Senate.
McNeil, the owner of Mid-South Medical, LLC, made unsuccessful bids for a seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 2008 and the Orange County Board of Elections in 2012.
Matt Hughes, chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, said four other potential candidates, three of them elected officials in Orange County, have privately expressed interest in filling the seat soon to be vacated by Foushee.
Foushee was appointed Sunday to fill the vacancy created when former state senator Ellie Kinnaird resigned from the 23rd District seat had held since 1996.
When Foushee formally moves into the senate seat, a move that could happen as early as this week, party officials in Chapel Hill and Durham, the two counties served by the district, will launch a process to fill the vacancy similar to the one used to appoint Foushee.
A House of Representatives District Executive Committee composed of two representatives from Orange County and two from Durham County will make the appointment.
Each county is allotted one vote for every 300 citizens counted in the last census.
Because Durham makes up a much small portion of the district, committee members representing Orange County will have more votes.
To be eligible for appointment, a candidate must be a resident of Senate District 23 and a registered Democrat.
Kinnaird resigned last month, citing frustration with the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
She announced plans to launch a campaign to ensure citizens have the proper identification to vote, an effort intended to counter the state’s new voter ID law backed and approved by the legislature’s Republican majority.