Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray has become the front-runner to become U.S. Attorney in Charlotte, the top federal prosecutor in western North Carolina, according to three sources familiar with the process.
Murray, a Republican who is finishing up his second term as district attorney, met with his staff at 12:45 p.m. Monday to confirm he is being considered for the job, a spokesperson said.
Murray's interest in the job appears to have been growing over the past week. As recently as two weeks ago, he was telling friends and associates that he intended to seek a new term as district attorney next year.
Now, sources tell the Observer that he is the only candidate being vetted by the U.S. Attorney General's Office and the FBI. His was also the only name proposed by the North Carolina's two U.S. senators, Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.
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Murray's selection must still be approved by the White House. Under federal rules, President Donald Trump must nominate Murray and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.
Murray's office prosecutes cases in the largest court district in North Carolina.
As U.S. Attorney, he would run an office that prosecutes criminal and civil cases in an area covering 32 counties and 2.9 million people.
The job is a political appointment that traditionally coincides with the four-year term of the sitting president.
Anne Tompkins, former President Barack Obama's selection, resigned in October 2015. For the past two years, the job has been filled by Jill Westmoreland Rose.
There are 93 U.S. Attorney jobs across the country. Trump ordered the 46 Obama holdovers to resign in March. Trump's process to fill the vacancies has been proceeding slowly.