By Sarah Nagem
State Sen. Danny Britt, one of the most powerful Republicans in North Carolina, said he does not plan to run for state attorney general next year.
Political insiders have speculated that Britt, a Robeson County defense attorney who has served in the General Assembly since 2017, would vie for the seat.
But Britt told the Border Belt Independent on Monday that he decided the timing wasn’t right for his family, including his 11-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.
“I want to. I’ve got a lot of people that want me to,” Britt said. “But I want my kids to be a little bit older before I run for anything statewide.”
Britt, 43, said he also wanted to pay down his student loan debt before running for attorney general. He has previously told the BBI that he owed about $185,000 when he finished law school in Oklahoma.
“A lot of folks who went to law school had somebody kind of paying their way for them,” he said. “I didn’t have that. It kind of put me in a different place financially for a little while.”
Britt said Republican Congressman Dan Bishop’s potential run for attorney general was not a factor in his decision.
Andrew Murray, a former U.S. Attorney who had been considered an early front-runner in the Republican primary, opted out when Bishop expressed interest.
Britt said he encouraged Bishop to run for attorney general. If Bishop were to win and serve two four-year terms in the job, Britt said he would be well set up to succeed him in the 2032 election.
“If he stays for at least eight years, my kids will then be 21 and 19,” he said. “So I can do about what I want to at that point.”
Jeff Moore, director of communications for the North Carolina Republican Party, declined to comment for this story.
“We love Sen. Britt, but (we) want to avoid weighing in on hypotheticals like this due to our duty of neutrality when it comes to primary elections,” Moore said in an email.
Britt’s rise to power once seemed unlikely in Robeson County, where generations of voters had picked Democrats for office. But in recent years the GOP has gained major momentum in southeastern North Carolina, where many people were already aligned with socially conservative views.
Joining fellow Republicans, Britt voted this month in favor of a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks – which would further restrict the current ban after 20 weeks.
Britt said he wanted “something longer” than 12 weeks, noting that his wife did not know she was pregnant with their son until she was 11 weeks along. But, he said, the legislation “was absolutely better than what we have in current law.”
“There were some people who didn’t abortions at all, any time, even if it meant the mother may die,” Britt said of state lawmakers. “Just with all legislation that we work on, there’s often compromise. This was no different. We had to find a middle ground that everybody would support.”
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the bill in a public ceremony over the weekend, but Republicans have a slim supermajority to override the veto.
As for the 2024 election, Britt said he will support Mark Robinson in the Republican primary governor’s race. Robinson, who currently serves as lieutenant governor, has come under fire for numerous comments he has made, including speaking out against transgender athletes and criticizing survivors of a school shooting.
“There are some things that Mark Robinson said that I don’t necessarily agree with,” Britt said. “But I think he’s the best shot our state has to have somebody that’s going to represent what the majority of people think.”
Looking ahead to a future run for attorney general, Britt said, “I think it’s something I would be good at. I think it’s something I would enjoy.”