BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Brunswick County's top Superior Court Judge is seeking higher ground.
Judge Ola Lewis has said she's running for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Lewis formally announced her decision a few weeks ago during the North Carolina State Convention in Charlotte.
Lewis, who is African American and Republican, says this will be an interesting race. She'll challenge Cheri Beasley who currently holds the seat. Beasley is also an African American woman but a Democrat. She was appointed to the bench just before Governor Beverly Perdue left office in December.
The race is non-partisan but Lewis says she expects to take some backlash because she's a black republican going up against a democratic black woman.
Lewis' GOP affiliation landed her a spot on Friday night's edition of "Hannity' on FOX News. The show was a town hall discussion about conservative African Americans.
Lewis described her participation on the show as "incredible and an opportunity of a lifetime." She also believes discussions like those will continue.
"I am confident the National spotlight will continue to focus on the benefit of conservatives in the minority community," Lewis said. "I hope to continue to be a part of that National presence."
Lewis says she's seeking the State Supreme Court seat because she's ready to take her legal career to the next level.
"I am more than qualified for the office that I seek," says Lewis, "I have presided over several trials during my career. I have tried complex civil cases and high level felonies to include capital first degree murder."
Lewis began her law career 22 years ago as Democrat. She was an Assistant District Attorney serving in Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus Counties from 1991-1993. She was appointed to the District Court Bench in 1993 by then Governor Jim Hunt. After seven years Lewis was appointed by Governor Hunt to the Superior Court Bench.
In 2002 she successfully ran for the position of Resident Superior Court Judge. Shortly after winning that election, Lewis switched parties and joined the GOP.
In 2010 Lewis ran unopposed for her current position as Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Brunswick County.
She has created several problem-solving courts in her home district to including Drug Treatment Court, DWI Treatment Court, Domestic Violence Treatment Court, and a Sex Offender Accountability and Recovery Court (SOAR).
"I am excited about the race and look forward to bringing my experience to the High Court of North Carolina," Lewis said Friday night.