Morgan picked for NC Senate bid following candidate dropout

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A former Democratic state House candidate in southeastern North Carolina will now run this fall for a Senate seat after the challenger to Republican Sen. Michael Lee dropped out.

New Hanover County’s Democratic Party executive committee last Friday chose Marcia Morgan as a replacement candidate for Jason Minnicozzi, who had already announced his departure from the 7th Senate District race.

Morgan, a retired Army colonel, ran unsuccessfully for House seats in 2018 and 2020. Lee first joined the Senate in 2014, lost his seat in 2018 but won the job with a 2020 victory. Past election results suggest their race could be a toss-up.

Minnicozzi, a public defender and former assistant prosecutor in the area, blamed campaign finance challenges for his withdrawal in a June 26 announcement. That happened days after a social media post surfaced in which a domestic violence victim accused him of using his defender’s position improperly to obtain information to contact her, according to news outlets.

Minnicozzi made no reference to the allegations in his statement and didn’t respond immediately to an email Tuesday. State Democratic Party Chair Bobbie Richardson said last month that Minnicozzi was right to withdraw and that “harassment of any kind cannot be tolerated.”