Chapel Hill, NC – Two-term District Court Judge Lunsford Long recently announced he has ended his reelection campaign, leaving only former District Bar president Sherri Murrell actively campaigning for the district court seat. Murrell currently serves as an assistant public defender in District 15B and is based in the Chatham County Office. In a letter sent to members of the Orange and Chatham County Bar on May 24, Long explained that the state’s law regarding the mandatory retirement age of judges would prevent him from serving more than one year of a four year term, and that he was determined that his replacement should be someone who embodies the values of Judicial District 15B, which includes all of Orange and Chatham Counties.
“As a result of legislation enacted by the General Assembly, the Bar’s opportunity to insure its approval of any successor-appointee has been eliminated and the Governor would have unfettered discretion in his appointment. I do not wish to risk having a replacement who does not share our Bar’s values and who does not carry our Bar’s approval. Therefore, I have decided not to pursue reelection,” Long’s letter read, in part. Murrell, who has practiced criminal, family, real estate, and trusts law in the district for more than two decades, was quick to praise Long.
“I’ve known Lunsford Long for a very long time. He has been a wise source of advice and encouragement, and he has been an extraordinarily fair and effective judge on our district court bench,” Murrell said. “I had great respect for him as an opponent in this race, and I am humbled by his willingness to take this step out of concern for the future of our district court.”
Long called “unfortunate” the state election laws that prohibit removal of his name from the ballot, and that he could not make an endorsement.
“Since I am no longer a candidate, the Canons of Judicial Ethics do not permit me to endorse any candidate for any office but I am able to say that I know Sherri Murrell well, and I know she is well qualified to replace me,” Long wrote in his letter to attorneys. “I would not have felt comfortable with my decision were this not so.”
Murrell promised to continue the active campaign she began last December, introducing herself to the citizens of District 15B and continuing an ongoing discussion from Hillsborough to Siler City about the law and the courts.
“It’s not only important that the people of the district understand how the law and courts work,” Murrell said. “But it’s especially important for me to hear the ways they haven’t
worked for people and to grapple with solutions. That’s been an eye-opening experience for me, and I intend to keep doing it.”
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. You can learn more about Sherri Murrell and her campaign by visiting www.murrellforjudge.com.