A Republican Court of Appeals judge will join the state Supreme Court two months before he's scheduled to be on the ballot to run for the same seat on North Carolina's highest court.
Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Judge Robert Hunter of Morehead City on Wednesday to become an associate Supreme Court justice and fill the remainder of Justice Mark Martin's term starting September 6. McCrory picked Martin to become the next chief justice when Chief Justice Sarah Parker retires Aug. 31.
Both Martin and Hunter are seeking full eight-year terms at their new positions in November. Martin faces Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis. Hunter is running against Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin IV.
Hunter's move creates a vacancy on the Court of Appeals.