Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton and Josh Stein, candidates for N.C. Attorney General, will be in Asheboro for a “Hometown Debate” on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The N.C. Institute of Political Leadership and the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce will co-host the event which will take place at the Sunset Theatre, 234 Sunset Ave. It’s one of three in the state.

“In this busy election year, featuring races for president and U.S. Senate, the staff and board of the N.C. Institute of Political Leadership (NCIOPL) want to ensure that North Carolinians are familiar with the candidates and issues to be found in critical statewide races,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, NCIOPL board chair and senior vice president of Government Relations at NC’s Electric Cooperatives.

“We also want to ensure that North Carolina’s smaller cities and towns are brought into the conversation and their issues and concerns are addressed.”

“We are pleased to bring this public service opportunity to our community,” added Linda Brown, president of the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce. “NCIOPL’s mission is centered around fair political discourse on issues, and these debates will provide the opportunity to do just that.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., followed by the debate at 7 p.m.

The candidates will be questioned by local newspaper editors Annette Jordan from The Courier-Tribune in Asheboro and John Nagy from The Pilot in Southern Pines.

For those who can’t make it in person, the debate will air on UNC-TV’s NC channel on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m. and will be broadcast live on radio stations that are part of the NC News Network.

The “Hometown Debates” series is sponsored by five statewide organizations: The N.C. Advocates for Justice, the N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys, NC’s Electric Cooperatives, the John William Pope Foundation and the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

The first in the series — for the office of lieutenant governor — was held in Wilson on Sept. 13 on the campus of Barton College. The debate featuring state treasurer candidates will take place in Statesville at the Statesville Civic Center on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m.

NCIOPL is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate future political and community leaders in modern campaign strategy, ethical decision making and governance, such that its participants will have a sound grounding in ethical behavior, consensus building, and cooperative and collaborative leadership. No other program in North Carolina offers such a comprehensive curriculum in strategic, non-partisan political leadership development.

For more information, contact Ross Harris at rharris@iopl.org or 336-908-7171.

About the office

The Attorney General is head of the N.C. Department of Justice.

As such, the AG has numerous duties, such as providing legal representation and advice to all state government departments, agencies and commissions, as well as legal opinions at the request of other public officials; and handling all criminal appeals from state trial courts. When the state’s public interests are at stake, the AG can take legal action on behalf of North Carolina’s citizens.

In addition, the AG gives legal opinions to the General Assembly, the governor and other public officials; and consults with and advises judges, district attorneys, magistrates and municipal and county governments.


* N.C. Sen. Buck Newton, a Republican and native of Wilson, is a graduate of Appalachian State University and Campbell University School of Law. After college, he served as an aide to Sen. Jesse Helms on the Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. Senate.

He practices law at his firm, Newton and Lee, in Wilson. From 2007-11, he chaired the Wilson County Republican Party before taking office in early 2011. As a member of the N.C. Senate, he represents parts of Wilson, Nash and Johnston counties in the 11th District.

According to his website, he chairs the Senate’s Judiciary I Committee and the Appropriations Committee on Justice and Public Safety.

This session, Newton co-sponsored Senate Bill 2 — a controversial measure exempting magistrates from performing marriages — with Senate leader Phil Berger.

He also shepherded House Bill 2 — the controversial measure that prohibits local governments from extending anti-discrimination protections to gay and transgender people, while also banning transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to the gender on their birth certificate — through his chamber.

* Josh Stein, a Raleigh resident and Democrat, is a lawyer with the firm Smith Moore Leatherwood, representing the Monitor of the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement to ensure that the nation’s biggest banks live up to the terms of the settlement and treat their home loan customers fairly.

He earned his law and public policy degrees from Harvard University. From 2001-08, he served as the senior deputy attorney general. Between 2009 and 2016, he was a member of the N.C. Senate, where he sat on a number of committees, including the Judiciary I committee.

According to his website, in the Senate, Stein worked to enhance protections for victims of domestic violence; expand the DNA database to take more violent criminals off the street; ban stalking through use of GPS tracking devices; strengthen DWI laws to keep more drunk drivers off the road; ensure that our drinking water is clean; strengthen our economy; and improve public education.

As a primary sponsor of Grey’s Law, a law to require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving convictions, Stein was praised for his work to keep North Carolina families safe.

Before joining the state Senate, Stein co-chaired the $5 million capital campaign for Interact, Wake County’s domestic violence organization, and was awarded its volunteer of the year for 2008.