On Monday, Oct. 16, the Executive Committee of the Guilford County Democratic Party voted to nominate North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Committee Member Brandon Gray to fill the District 6 seat on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners – the seat vacated by the sudden departure of former Commissioner James Upchurch.
Gray will officially become a county commissioner once he is appointed by a vote of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. By every indication, the commissioners will vote to appoint Gray and the vote is highly likely to be unanimous.
Upchurch ran for the District 6 seat as a Democrat and then, one year after taking office, changed his affiliation to Republican, but there’s zero chance of Gray – a rock solid member of the party – doing the same.
On Monday, Oct 2., Upchurch announced he was stepping down from the seat he was elected to in 2020 in order to take a job in another state, which sources say is Georgia.
It didn’t take the Guilford County Democratic Party long to select its choice for a replacement: Gray had a big advantage from the start after Chairman of the Board of Commissioner Skip Alston, the most powerful Democratic politician in Guilford, County, endorsed Gray earlier this month.
The Guilford County Democratic Party Executive Committee met via Zoom at 6:30 Monday evening to make a recommendation to fill Upchurch’s unexpired term.
Gray ran for the North Carolina House District 62 seat in 2020 and lost to Republican John Faircloth. At that time, at the age of 25, he would have been the state’s youngest lawmaker had he won. Upchurch was the youngest county commissioner on the board and Gray, once seated, will preserve the youthfulness of that District 6 seat.
Gray has been an outspoken proponent of Medicaid expansion, the legalization of marijuana and stronger checks for gun sales. He has also been critical of the role that big money plays in politics.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 19 and Alston said the Board of Commissioners will vote to appoint Gray at the start of that meeting.