NC Secretary of State: Contenders run on making it easier for business

Elaine Marshall
Elaine Marshall Courtesy of Elaine Marshall

The incumbent

Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, has no primary opposition in her bid for re-election.

The challengers

A.J. Daoud and Michael LaPaglia are running for the Republican nomination to oppose Marshall in November.

About the office

The secretary of state is responsible for overseeing corporations, charitable solutions, notaries, securities, lobbying and the uniform commercial code.

Where the candidates stand

The winner of the Republican primary election will face a Democratic incumbent with considerable name recognition.

Marshall has held the office since 1997, when she became the first woman elected statewide in North Carolina, defeating racing legend Richard Petty. She ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Richard Burr in 2010. She also served a term in the state Senate in 1992.

Daoud, who lives in Pilot Mountain, has traveled many thousands of miles campaigning, including some of it in a tour bus. He has political experience under his belt and a steering committee with prominent Republican legislators on it, including Rep. David Lewis from Harnett County, chairman of the legislature’s Rules Committee.

Daoud contends Marshall’s office hasn’t made it easy to start a small business. He said business owners have complained about outdated technology and unspecified other obstacles.

LaPaglia, says he champions a free market. On his campaign website, he credits the value of small businesses. On Facebook, he calls Marshall the most liberal statewide official in North Carolina.

“With your help, we will retire Elaine Marshall and send a conservative to the Secretary of State’s office that will work to get government out of the way and allow North Carolina’s entrepreneurs and businesses owners to thrive,” he says.

A.J. Daoud

Age: 59

Education: Associate of science degree in funeral service from Miami Dade College, state police certification from Southeast Institute for Criminal Justice, bachelor’s degree in business from Barry University, MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Professional experience: Former police officer who spent years running a group of funeral homes based in Pilot Mountain.

Political resume: Ran for state House in Florida in 1986. Ran for secretary of state in North Carolina in 2012, and came in fourth in the primary with 10 percent of the vote. Former member of the state Lottery Commission. GOP 6th district chairman.

Family: Married to Angie Thomas Daoud; they have two children.

Website: ajdaoud.com

Michael LaPaglia

Age: 43

Education: Master’s degree in theater (technical direction and production management) from UNC-Chapel Hill. Bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University.

Professional experience: Owns LaPaglia & Associates, a consulting firm that works with museums and historic sites.

Political resume: He has not held elected office before but worked for U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign in the 1990s.

Family: Married to Patricia; they have one son.

Website: lapagliafornc.nationbuilder.com/