State Sen. Bob Steinburg has announced he will step down from the North Carolina Senate on July 31, likely clearing the way for state Rep. Bobby Hanig to assume a seat in the chamber he is running for in November.
The Daily Advance reported Friday that Steinburg is stepping down this summer so he can be eligible to be a registered lobbyist when the 2023-24 session begins at the N.C. General Assembly next winter.
The Republican from Edenton is in his second term as senator for the First District, which covers Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington after serving three terms in the state House.
“I’m proud of my time representing northeastern North Carolina, and I’m glad we’ve done some positive things to improve our corrections system,” Steinburg told Carolina Journal on Thursday. “I’m now excited to move forward in the next chapter, where I will continue to advocate for causes I care about, as well as northeastern North Carolina.”
Steinburg chairs the Senate Select Committee on Prison Safety and has been a key player in moving prison reforms through in recent years.
Steinburg lost to fellow Sen. Norm Sanderson of Pamlico County in the GOP primary in May, after the the two were placed in the same district during the most recent redistricting process.
Sanderson has no opposition in the general election this November for the new First District that will include Carteret, Chowan, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans and Washington counties.
“It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to serve in the North Carolina House of Representatives. I look forward to continuing my service in the Senate,” Hanig said.
“Senator Steinburg is a great leader. I am honored to have his support in filling the vacancy,” Hanig said. “I will work hard to carry on his legacy of standing up for northeastern North Carolina values in Raleigh.”
Hanig is a Republican from Powells Point serving his second term in the N.C. House of Representatives and was elevated last year to Deputy Majority Whip, a key leadership position.
With the region split into a pair of districts beginning in 2022, Hanig was unopposed in the May primary for the Republican nomination to the Third District Senate seat. That district covers Bertie, Currituck, Camden, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Martin and Warren counties.
Hanig will face Valerie Jordan, a Democrat from Warren County, in the November general election.
The replacement for Steinburg will be nominated by a committee of Republicans from each of the 11 counties in the First Senate District, and then submitted to the governor for approval. But that cannot happen until after Steinburg officially steps down.
Haing said Friday he has spoken to 9 of the 11 GOP chairs to express his interest and received favorable opinions.
If Hanig is approved to take the Senate seat, that would leave open his House seat representing Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico.
Hanig said Paul O’Neal, a former Currituck County Commissioner from Waterlily, is the likely candidate to serve out the remainder of the House term ending in January.
The northeast corner of the state has been split into three House districts ahead of the 2022 elections.
Rep. Edward Goodwin (R-Chowan) is unopposed in the First District covering Currituck, Chowan, northern Dare (Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck), Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington; counties Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort) unopposed in the 79th covering Beaufort, the rest of Dare, Hyde and Pamlico counties; and Rep. Howard Hunter (D-Hertford Co.) faces a challenged from Bill Republican Bill Ward of Elizabeth City in the 5th which includes Camden, Pasquotank, Gates and Hertford counties.
While the legislature wrapped up its work in the short session at the beginning of July, they still have not official adjourned.
Hanig said no major votes will be taken, with skeleton session taking place about every 30 days.
He said a major reason a full adjournment did not take place is in case a hurricane were to hit the state this season and the General Assembly can approve an emergency relief package without having to be called into special session.