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Ahead of Beth Wood’s court date, what NC Democrats, Republicans say about her future

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood has a court date this week on the misdemeanor hit-and-run charge she faces for leaving the scene of a car crash in downtown Raleigh in December.

Wood went into the law office of former Attorney General and Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten while her state-owned vehicle was partially atop a parked car just outside the office on South Salisbury Street, video taken the night of the incident and shared widely on social media shows.

No prominent lawmakers or elected officials from either party have called for her resignation, though the North Carolina Republican Party has. If she were to resign, according to state law, her replacement would be appointed by the governor. Both Wood and Gov. Roy Cooper are Democrats.

Wood’s office is up for reelection in 2024.

Here’s what prominent Republicans and Democrats are saying about Wood’s crash and her future, including Wood herself.

Auditor Beth Wood

“I would just say that if I could go back and change my decision that night it would be different, but all I can do moving forward is take responsibility for the accident and fix what was broken,” Wood said last month, The N&O previously reported.

Asked for a response to calls from the NCGOP for her to resign, Wood said “absolutely not.”

“That accident does not define me, nor does it take away from the phenomenal work we’ve done in my administration,” Wood said.

Wood has not said since the crash became public whether she still plans to run for reelection in 2024.

Rufus Edmisten

Edmisten, a Democrat, declined to comment to The N&O this week when asked if he would confirm she was at his party the night of the incident or otherwise talk about Wood.

“I wish not to comment on the incident,” he said.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger

Berger, the Senate leader and an Eden Republican, said he’s not calling on Wood to resign.

“She was elected by the people of the state of North Carolina. I think overall, but for this incident, folks have felt like she’s done a pretty good job. She’s kind of been, in my my opinion as far as her job is concerned, competent at it,” he told reporters on Tuesday after a Senate session.

“I think it does call into question, some judgment on her part. But I think ultimately, that’s for the voters to decide, if she decides to run for reelection,” Berger said.

Gov. Roy Cooper

In February, Wood called in remotely to a Council of State meeting that included the governor. “This case is still under investigation,” Cooper told reporters after the meeting, and “still has a court date. And we’ll let that play out.”

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood shakes Gov. Roy Cooper’s hand following his State of the State address during a joint session of the N.C. General Assembly on Monday, March 6, 2023.
North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood shakes Gov. Roy Cooper’s hand following his State of the State address during a joint session of the N.C. General Assembly on Monday, March 6, 2023.

Attorney General Josh Stein

Stein, a Democrat running for governor, told The N&O after the February Council of State meeting that “It is an issue for Auditor Wood. It’s being investigated, and we’ll let the process play out,” he said.

House Speaker Tim Moore

Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican, said in January that as a lawyer, he’d wait on the court process to play out.

“Any person, regardless of who they are, is entitled to be presumed innocent and have their day in court when there’s a criminal justice investigation,” Moore said.

“I just I don’t believe in just kind of piling on on something like that. I mean, I’d hate to be in that situation. I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Senate Minority Whip Jay Chaudhuri

Chaudhuri, a Raleigh Democrat, told The N&O in January that the police and district attorney should continue their investigation “and Auditor Wood should be held accountable for any actions.”

The N&O has also asked several other Democratic lawmakers about Wood, and they declined to comment.

Kyle Ingram contributed to this story.