His name is Newby, but he’s far from new — Justice Paul Newby was first elected to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2004, and was subsequently re-elected to another eight-year term in 2012. As that term nears its end in 2020, he’s not only seeking re-election, but election as the court’s chief justice.
A Feb. 26 announcement from Superior Court Judge Bradley Letts that he would retire from his seat but would not run for tribal office perplexed many in Western North Carolina. Speculation that Letts, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, would run for chief of that tribe had been widespread, both on and off the Qualla Boundary.
One of 43 spread across the state, North Carolina’s 30th Judicial District covers Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties and is where many people have their first interaction with the court system.
You’ve probably seen the billboards by now, if not for months. Or, you’ve seen the candidates out campaigning in person — incumbent Superior Court Judge Brad Letts and well-known Waynesville attorney Mark Melrose.
In addition to several referenda as well as federal, state and local legislative candidates that will appear on Haywood County’s General Election ballots this November, a number of other candidates will also seek to gain or retain elected positions within the state’s judiciary.