Political newcomer Michael LaPaglia cruised to victory in the Republican race for Secretary of State, and will now gear up for what promises to be a challenging battle to unseat Democrat Elaine Marshall.
With all precincts reporting, LaPaglia had 61 percent of the vote, while funeral home director A.J. Daoud had 38 percent.
The secretary of state is responsible for overseeing corporations, charitable solicitations, notaries, securities and lobbying.
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LaPaglia, who owns a consulting firm that works with museums and historic sites, has called Marshall the most liberal statewide official in North Carolina.
In interviews and on his campaign website, he has championed a free market and credited the value of small businesses.
LaPaglia has not held elected office before but worked for U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign in the 1990s.
Daoud, who lives in Pilot Mountain, contends Marshall’s office has made it tough to start a small business. Business owners have complained about outdated technology in the office, he said.
With a steering committee that includes prominent Republicans, Daoud has traveled thousands of miles campaigning.
A.J. Daoud 38.43%
Michael LaPaglia 61.57%
2,709 of 2,709 precincts reporting