Forsyth’s O’Neill launches attorney general campaign

Forsyth’s O’Neill launches attorney general campaign
October 15
00:00 2015

The Associated Press

The Forsyth County district attorney said Monday that he’s running for attorney general because he has the experience to handle the job.

“If you’re going to be the top prosecutor in North Carolina, you should be an actual prosecutor. You should be qualified, tested and ready on Day One,” Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill said.

He becomes the second GOP candidate to enter the race. GOP state Sen. Buck Newton has already announced his candidacy.

Four-term Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is planning to run for governor next year, opening the post. Two Democrats have said they’re running for Cooper’s seat: state Sen. Josh Stein and Fayetteville attorney Tim Dunn.

A Republican hasn’t been elected as North Carolina’s attorney general in more than 100 years. Cooper has been state government’s highest ranking Democrat since Republican Pat McCrory became governor in 2013.

O’Neill has been Forsyth County district attorney since 2009, when then-Gov. Bev Perdue appointed him to serve out the term of a retiring prosecutor. He ran unopposed in 2010 and 2014.

He said he won’t attack other candidates – even Cooper. Instead, he said he’d focus on his strengths as well as the issues.

One issue: fixing the long delays at the state’s crime laboratory.

“It’s unconscionable that prosecutors and defendants are waiting so long to get results back. That’s one of the first items that I would attack,” O’Neill said. “Secondly, I believe that the will of the people should be carried out … especially when it comes to the death penalty.”

The state hasn’t carried out an execution since 2006 due to various legal appeals.


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