Nancy Lorrin Freeman was the clear winner Tuesday of the Democratic primary for District Attorney, while Republicans Jeff Cruden and John Walter Bryant will likely face each other in a runoff election to be held later this year.
By and large, it was not a great night for the assistant district attorneys looking to succeed longtime DA Colon Willoughby in running the Wake County office.
ADA Benjamin “Boz” Zellinger, the only other Democrat in the race, finished with about 42 percent of the vote to Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Freeman’s 57.
Although Senior ADA Cruden appeared to have a slight edge with nearly 34 percent of the vote, state law dictates that a primary candidate has to get 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election.
Bryant, a private attorney, earned 32 percent of votes.
ADA Jefferson Griffin, who in March won the Wake County GOP straw poll for District Attorney, finished with 22 percent of the vote.
Although Freeman was blasted in a mailer put out by the State Employees Association of North Carolina labor union, a mailer strongly disavowed both by her opponent Zellinger and former DA Willoughby, the attack seemed to have little effect on Tuesday’s outcome.
In an earlier interview with the Record, Freeman said that as District Attorney, she would strive to ensure that the more than 100,000 cases that flow through the office are handled in a way that promotes public safety while still maintaining a sense of fairness for all involved. She said her time as Clerk of Superior Court allowed her to work closely with the judges and former DA Willoughby, through which she gained insight into ways the court system can be both more efficient and more effective.
Cruden told the Record in an earlier profile interview that he would continue his work in improving the flow and efficiency of the massive caseload of the office, citing a case management system he helped to implement years ago. His primary role in the office, he said, would be to ensure that the rights of all Wake County citizens are protected.
In the primary race for the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court, Jennifer Knox is the Republican winner, with about 42 percent of the vote, and Sam Bridges the Democratic winner, with 54 percent of the vote.