After Meg Scott Phipps resigned her job last June 6 as North Carolina's Commissioner of Agriculture, Gov. Mike Easley appointed Britt Cobb, a 31-year veteran of the department, to take over as interim commissioner through til January of 2005. Then Cobb announced he would be a candidate for the job in the general elections of 2004. Easley hasn't exactly endorsed him, according to the Raleigh News & Observer, but he essentially anointed him by appointing him to the job.
There's something of a power struggle going on between ex-Gov. Jim Hunt and present Gov. Easley over the future of this office. Hunt has endorsed former state rep. Tom Gilmore for the job, and Gilmore and Cobb will be facing one another in the July 20th state primary. Gilmore seems to have won the backing of much of the Democratic power structure, while Cobb gets good marks for his stewardship of the department from employees.
This may be one of the hotter races on the primary ballot this year.