Primary winner Murdock appointed to North Carolina Senate

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The winner of a North Carolina state Senate primary last month was appointed on Wednesday to fill for the rest of the year the seat she’s aiming to win this fall.

Gov. Roy Cooper formally appointed Natalie Murdock the day after Durham County Democratic activists meeting online chose her to succeed Sen. Mickey Michaux, who resigned from the seat earlier in the day. State law required Cooper to follow the Democrats’ wishes and appoint Murdock, who leads a marketing and communications firm, to the vacancy.

Michaux, who served in the state House over 45 years through 2018, had filled the 20th Senate District seat since January. It was previously held by Sen. Floyd McKissick until resigning to join the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

When appointed, Michaux said he anticipated stepping down so Cooper could appoint the March 3 Democratic primary winner to succeed him. Murdock won that primary.

Murdock faces Republican nominee John Tarantino in the November general election in the heavily Democratic district for a two-year term starting in early 2021.

The General Assembly is supposed to convene on April 28. Some want legislators to return earlier to pass bills related to COVID-19.

There will be another new legislator on the legislature’s return. Cooper appointed physician Kristin Baker on March 19 to fill the unexpired term of Republican Rep. Linda Johnson, who died in February. Baker won the GOP primary last month.