Cooper names former Wake commissioner Jessica Holmes to replace Beth Wood as NC auditor

Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday appointed former Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes to replace State Auditor Beth Wood and serve the remainder of her term, through the end of 2024.

Holmes will assume the job of being the state’s top government watchdog, taking over from Wood, who has served since 2009.

The auditor, one of 10 statewide elected officials who make up the Council of State, conducts oversight of state agencies and programs.

Wood, who was reelected to a fourth term as auditor in 2020, faced persistent scrutiny this year after news outlets reported in January that she had crashed her state-assigned vehicle into another car after leaving a holiday party last December.

The long-serving auditor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor hit and run charge, yet initially insisted she would not resign, and would run for reelection. But after a Wake County grand jury indicted her last month for misusing her state-owned vehicle for personal use, Wood announced that she would step down on Dec. 15.

Several candidates have announced campaigns for auditor, including Democrat Luis Toledo and six Republicans: Jack Clark, a certified public accountant; David Boliek, a member and former chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees; Charles Dingee, former chair of the Wake County Young Republicans; A.J. Daoud, former NCGOP district chairman; Jim Kee, former Greensboro City Council member; and Jeff Tarte, a former state senator and mayor of Cornelius.

Holmes’ appointment means that if she runs for auditor she would be able to run as an incumbent, which would likely yield her an advantage compared to if the race remained open.