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Wake County District Attorney Watch: Republican Primary

Rumor has it that an unexpected name might enter the Wake County District Attorney race in the Republican primary race.

With Lorrin Freeman having put her name in the hat on the Democratic side, the Democratic Party primary race is essentially solidified. It will be quite a challenge to overcome the considerable advantages she has in name, party backing, and in qualifications to beat her in a primary.

But the Republican primary is an open matter. Two assistant district attorneys, Jeff Cruden and Jefferson Griffin, have already indicated they will run. Neither have campaigned before for elective office before.

While Jeff Cruden is a senior ADA with considerable experience as a career prosecutor who has handled high profile prosecutors, Jefferson Griffin also has experience as a felony prosecutor and has already begun crafting a political message that will resonate with the conservative voters who make up the bulk of the voters who vote in Republican party primaries, particularly in off-presidential years.

Jefferson Griffin’s platform highlights better cooperation with law enforcement, second amendment rights, limited government, and continuing to combat DWI. These are all issues that will resonate with conservative voters.

But this is a year when any Republican who can campaign and raise money might win. In 1994, Colon Willoughby was the only Democrat in Wake County to be elected – by just 700 votes (56,906 to 56,208) – against a no-name candidate from Apex. That was the year the Republicans swept Congress with Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”

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