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First-time campaign nets seat on bench

After voters awarded him a promotion as District Court judge, his legal co-workers will next be addressing him as “Your Honor.”

Despite a maiden voyage as a politician, it did not take prosecutor Thai Vang long to develop a sense of campaign strategy. His successful message led to voters electing Vang as the newest District Court judge in 20A.

Thai Vang

“We knew we had to run an aggressive campaign,” Vang said. “We ran like we were 10 points behind.”

The current assistant district attorney turned Republican judge-elect touted his courtroom experience as the primary reason he was deserving of a judgeship. Voters apparently agreed, notching 18,046 ballots for Vang to fellow GOP candidate Beverly Spencer’s 10,047 votes.

Stanly voters decided the contest 13,258-6,908, whereas Montgomery voters chose Vang 4,788-3,139.

By the end of the race, Vang was like any other first-time candidate.

“As a first-time politician, I’m just glad to win,” Vang said.

Now that judicial District 20A includes both Stanly and Montgomery counties, Vang seemed ideal for the district. Presently, he and his family live on a farm in Montgomery  while he works in Stanly.

In addition to his message that “experience matters,” Vang used his familiarity and roots in the area as further proof he was the right candidate for the job.

Although Spencer did not have the experience Vang claimed, she seemingly ran a professional and honest campaign built on the same determination that led her to juggle a career and family while going to law school at night.

Despite fears voters might slight his Laotian heritage, Vang said he was pleased to see voters looked past any nationality differences and chose him as the right candidate for the bench.

A message left with Spencer was not immediately returned by press time.

Other 20A District Court Republican judges re-elected after running unopposed include: Bill Tucker and John R. Nance.

District Attorney Lynn Clodfelter was also re-elected after an uncontested campaign in both the GOP primary and general election.

After a decisive primary victory, Clerk of Superior Court Michael Huneycutt kept his Republican re-election bid intact after no further opposition.