The election of UNC Board of Governors officers is usually a noncontroversial, consensus-style, nonpartisan event.
Not this time, apparently. Next week, the board will choose officers for the first time since Republicans held a majority of seats on the policy-setting board for the UNC system. And it's looking like the election will be a contested one, with two candidates vying for both the chair and vice chair spots.
In the running for chairman are the current vice chairman Peter Hans of Raleigh, a senior policy adviser with a law firm, and Paul Fulton, a Winston-Salem businessman who is a former UNC-Chapel Hill business dean and trustee. Both are Republicans.
For the vice chair role, the names being floated are Frank Grainger, a Cary businessman, and James Deal Jr., a Boone attorney. Grainger is a Republican; Deal is a Democrat.
Ann Goodnight, a Cary community volunteer and businesswoman, is in line to be secretary. She is a Republican.
The election has the potential to end with an all-Republican, all-Triangle slate if the winners are Hans, Grainger and Goodnight.
Brad Wilson, former board chairman and current emeritus member, said in recent years the board has worked to have diversity in officers, from political party affiliation to geography, gender, race and alma mater. The current officers include a woman, an African-American, two Democrats, a Republican and representatives from both the Triangle and the coast.
"The board has always recognized that the officer group should be reflective of the diversity of the university," Wilson said.