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Weatherman defeats O’Neill for GOP nomination for lieutenant governor

THERESA OPEKA

Carolina Journal


Hal Weatherman was victorious over his opponent Jim O’Neill on Tuesday for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in North Carolina. With more than two-thirds of precincts reporting on Tuesday night Weatherman had 76% of the vote compared to O’Neill’s 23.8%.


Weatherman held a watch party at The Corner and Meeting House of Wake Forest. He told supporters that his campaign is a journey, and he committed early to connect with voters in person.


“In a day and age of 30-second attack ads we would try to connect with as many people one on one in this great state.,” he told supporters Tuesday evening. “We felt called to run, we felt called to run a certain way. This is really interesting, we were in an eleven-man primary field and we did not spend one dime on TV, we did not spend one dime on radio, we did not spend one dime on direct mail. We simply traveled around the state and talked to the greatest asset our state has to offer, which is you, its people.”


In the March 5 primary, Weatherman received 19.59% (181,818 votes) for lieutenant governor, followed by O’Neill with 15.84% (147,042 votes) among a large primary field of 10 candidates.

Weatherman served as campaign manager and chief of staff for former Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest and former US Rep. Sue Myrick.


He told Carolina Journal in March that his campaign is a testament to the power of grassroots campaigning. He touts the fact that he has been the only candidate out of 11 candidates for lieutenant governor in the original primary who traveled all 100 counties of the state.



“We also went to thirty-five counties five times or more, then we went to ten counties ten times or more, and then we stopped counting,” he told CJ in a video interview. “I really think people out there are looking for authenticity. They’re looking for genuineness and you really can’t show that over a TV screen or over a computer screen. You have to be face-to-face with people.”


O’Neill is serving his fourth term as district attorney for Forsyth County, previously serving as assistant DA. In 2020, he ran as the Republican nominee for state attorney general, challenging Attorney General Josh Stein, the 2024 Democratic nominee for governor.


O’Neill told Carolina Journal in a video interview that he is a strong proponent of law enforcement and wanted to give them a voice at the statewide level. He also supported teachers and said it’s really important that teachers and students feel safe in the classroom. 

Weatherman told CJ in a video interview that if he is elected, not only will he have an office in Raleigh and preside over the state senate, he is going to stay on the road.


“I’m gonna stay on the road, and keep my ear to the ground and be accessible to the people that I represent,” he said. “I want them to always be able to reach me. I want them to know me.”


He also said he would lobby the governor to remove Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices from every school in the state and would recommend not only pulling out of the American Library Association (ALA), but he would also lobby the North Carolina General Assembly to create a full-time equivalent position in every county with the sole authority to pick the books.


In addition, he said he wants to remove the stigma from the trades, retool the state’s apprenticeship program, and introduce a “two and two degree,” where students can go to trade school for the first two years after they graduate high school and the remaining two years at a university to take courses that will prepare them for a successful career. The founder of a charter school, he is also a homeschool advocate.


On the abortion issue, Weatherman said he supports a “Heartbeat Bill,” the foster care system, and making adoptions easier.


Weatherman will face Sen. Rachel Hunt, the democratic nominee.  The general election winner in November will replace current Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is the Republican candidate for governor and has endorsed Weatherman.

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