It’s all but official: Andrew Murray will become the next U.S. attorney for Western North Carolina.
On Friday, President Donald Trump nominated Mecklenburg County’s district attorney to become the top federal prosecutor for a sprawling region running from Charlotte to Asheville. His confirmation by the U.S. Senate is considered little more than a formality.
Murray, a Republican, said he learned he was Trump’s choice from his car radio while he was driving home from work.
He declined further comment. But in a statement released by the district attorney’s office, Murray said he was “honored and humbled by the president’s nomination.” If confirmed by the Senate, Murray said he would “welcome the opportunity to build on my service as Mecklenburg County District Attorney.”
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Murray, a long time private attorney in Charlotte before he was elected DA in 2011, is in his second term as lead prosecutor of the largest court district in the state. In June, he emerged as the front-runner to replace his former UNC law school classmate, Obama-appointee Anne Tompkins who resigned in 2015. For the past two years, the job has been filled by career prosecutor Jill Westmoreland Rose.
If approved, Murray would run an office that prosecutes criminal and civil cases from 32 counties with a constituency of almost 3 million people. The job, one of three U.S. attorneys in North Carolina, is a political appointment that traditionally coincides with the four-year term of the sitting president. Murray will take office as Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions promise a new crackdown on drugs and violent crime.
Murray’s nomination was announced by North Carolina’s two Republican senators – Thom Tillis and Richard Burr – who both recommended Murray for the job.
His pending departure – confirmations generally take more than two months to complete – is expected to set off a political line dance by potential replacements. Under N.C. law, Gov. Roy Cooper will fill the vacancy and is all but certain to select a Democrat.