Democrat Elaine Marshall was elected in 1996.
Republican Michael LaPaglia works at LaPaglia and Associates, a museum consulting firm.
About the office
The elected official heads the Department of the Secretary of State, which is responsible for managing and promoting the economic and business-related operations of the state government. The office is responsible for overseeing corporations, charitable solicitations, notaries, securities and lobbying.
About the candidates
Lapaglia, whose consulting firm has worked with museums nationwide, said he has “worked with a wide range of businesses throughout the U.S.”
Marshall is the first woman elected to a statewide office in North Carolina. She has twice run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate. In 2002, she lost the Democratic primary to Erskine Bowles. In 2010, she lost in the general election to Republican Richard Burr.
Where the candidates stand
LaPaglia says Marshall has served too long, and that the “state bureaucracy is entrenched.”
He said Marshall brought the Secretary of State’s office online 20 years ago, but he said other states now have customer-friendly websites.
“If you go to our website it looks like it was made 20 years ago,” he said.
Marshall wasn’t available for an interview.
A campaign spokesperson said Marshall is a national leader on “electric commerce.”
“We have the most robust electronic recording program for land records including plates, electronic notary, and now are beginning a pilot project for e-closings for real estate,” Marshall’s campaign said.
Her campaign also said Marshall is focusing on cyber threats on business data, business identity fraud and hacking.
Education: Bachelor’s degree political science, Emory University; master’s degree in theater technology from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Professional experience: Works at LaPaglia and Associates, a consulting firm that works with museums and historic sites nationwide.
Political resume: Hasn’t held public office; worked on Fred Thompson’s 1994 U.S. Senate campaign in Tennessee.
Family: Married with one son.
Education: Bachelor’s in textile and clothing, University of Maryland; law degree, Campbell University 1981.
Professional experience: small business owner; teacher; attorney; state senator; Secretary of State.
Political resume: State Senator 1993-94; N.C. Secretary of State 1996-present.
Family: Widow; has five step-children and seven grandchildren.