Hartsell withdraws bid for re-election

 RALEIGH – Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) will not seek re-election after his current term in the North Carolina Senate. Hartsell has served in the seat since 1991. In 2014, his most recent re-election, he ran unopposed in the general election.

Hartsell was recently the subject of an investigation by the N.C. Board of Elections regarding his campaign finance reports. While no charges have been filed in the case, over the summer investigators determined that Hartsell may have improperly used more than $100,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and sent the case to federal prosecutors.

“I have enjoyed nearly every moment of my 25 years in the Senate, and I will greatly miss this institution and its people,” said Hartsell in a statement. “But I’m 68 years old, and haven’t had a week-long vacation in 25 years. As I accompanied my four-year-old granddaughter to Disney on Ice last week, I realized I want to create many more of those special moments with each of my seven grandchildren. With my wife’s recent retirement, it’s now time for me to refocus my energy on my family, local community, missionary work in Guatemala and law practice.”

Senate leader Phil Berger took to social media Wednesday evening to praise Hartsell’s leadership and public service.

“Sen. Hartsell never focused or cared about partisanship in the legislature – he concentrated on finding creative and innovative ideas to improve state government and the lives of his constituents,” said Berger (R-Rockingham). “That’s why members of both parties have relied on him to tackle and solve major challenges.”

Berger touted Hartsell’s policy accomplishments including passing one of the first welfare reform projects in the United States, simplifying North Carolina’s adoption laws to make it easier for families to adopt children and repealing the state portion of the sales tax on food.

Parish Moffitt, also of Concord, was challenging Hartsell in the Republican primary. Moffitt is in legislative affairs for the Airline Pilots Association in Charlotte and is currently studying at UNC Chapel Hill in a graduate degree program in public administration.