Forsyth County Democrats have chosen a Winston-Salem city councilman to fill the unexpired term of Ed Hanes in the North Carolina House.

Party leaders, many from House District 72, chose Derwin Montgomery over fellow nominee Annette Scippio. He's spent nine years on the city council, but says the move to the statehouse will give him a chance to tackle some different concerns.

“Issues such as working on health care, such as expansion of Medicaid, as well as education issues are issues that I haven't had the opportunity to work on on council but do plan to work on on the state level,” he says.

Scippio was a late addition to the list of candidates to replace Hanes.

Some Democrats spoke up at the meeting at the Democratic Headquarters to say they felt Montgomery, whom Hanes had endorsed, was given too clear a path to the nomination without considering other potential nominees.

County party chairman Eric Ellison says the email he sent out about the meeting opened the field to anyone interested, and Montgomery was the only one to reply.

Ellison says there was a time concern as well because ballots are scheduled to be printed soon and he didn't want them to go out with a Democrats' name on the ballot.

The district that covers much of the north side of the city has long been a Democratic stronghold.

A motion to delay the vote was soundly defeated.

Despite the controversy, Montgomery and Scippio remained friendly as they made their case to be Hanes' replacement. Montgomery ultimately prevailed by a 3-1 margin.

Hanes announced last week that he's stepping down. He hasn't spoken much publicly about why he's making the move, but told people at the meeting that he's focusing on a media-related business opportunity.

Montgomery was also tabbed to take Hanes' place on the November ballot.

With his departure, the city council will now be given a chance to chose Montgomery's replacement.

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