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Stan Bingham, former state senator and Davidson County commissioner, dies at 76.

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Former State Sen. Stan Bingham, a Republican who represented Davidson and Guilford counties, died Thursday. He was 76.

The circumstances of Bingham’s death weren’t immediately available Thursday.

Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all U.S. and N.C. flags at state-owned buildings to be flown at half-staff Thursday until sunset Friday in honor of Bingham, the N.C. Department of Administration said in a statement.

“Senator Bingham was a hard working and thoughtful public servant who diligently represented the people in his district in addition to all of his other community efforts to improve the lives of others,” Cooper said.

A native of Winston-Salem, Bingham served in the N.C. Senate from 2001 to 2017, according to his biography. Before that, Bingham served on the Davidson County Board of Commissioners from 1990 to 1994.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said in a statement that he and Bingham were the only freshmen Republican senators in 2001.

"We grew to be close friends and confidants during our time serving together," Berger said. "He was a successful businessman, statesman, and one of my favorite people.

"No matter where life took him, he never lost touch with his roots and the people of Davidson County. He faithfully represented them in Raleigh. He was an exceptional storyteller and anyone who knew him can recount a time when he regaled them with one of his stories.

"Stan made a lasting impact on the North Carolina Senate and Davidson County," Berger said. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."

During his tenure as a legislator, Bingham helped put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2010 to prevent felons from serving as a sheriff.

Former Davidson Sheriff Gerald Hege’s bid to be re-elected that year spurred Bingham to pursue the constitutional amendment, which voters approved, Bingham said at that time.

Hege pleaded guilty in 2004 to two felony counts of obstruction of justice. In 2003, Hege had been indicted on 15 counts, including embezzlement, racial profiling and obstruction of justice.

In 2010 and 2018, Hege lost the Republican primary to David Grice, the incumbent Republican sheriff.

Bingham also played a role in the battle over House Bill 2, the controversial legislation that required transgender people to use restrooms, locker rooms and showers at schools and government buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates, rather than the gender with which they identify.

He was among the Republican legislative supermajority who voted in March 2016 to pass the bill, which was quickly signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

While HB2 was in existence from early 2016 until March 30, 2017, there were estimates of more than $630 million in lost economic activity in the state related to HB2.

Bingham was among five Republican sponsors of Senate Bill 4, which would have repealed HB2 in December 2016. However, that bill failed because Republican and Democratic legislators couldn’t agree on the Senate Bill 4’s final language.

HB2 was eventually repealed in part in March 2017 as part of a compromise reached between newly elected Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders.

As a state senator, Bingham also helped the towns of Midway and Wallburg become incorporated communities.

Bingham drew some criticism in June 2011, when he said on the N.C. Senate floor that he and State. Sen. Don East, R-Surry, had driven their motorcycles on curvy roads in excess of 100 mph before the two men got into East’s muscle car, a Dodge Charger SRTS, the Raleigh News and Observer reported at the time.

Bingham later told the Winston-Salem Journal that he was exaggerating.

He worked as the publisher of the Denton Orator, a weekly newspaper he founded in December 1995.

Bingham was the founder and owner of Bingham Lumber Co. in Denton, according to his biography. Bingham received a bachelor’s degree in forestry from N.C. State University in 1968.

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@jhintonWSJ

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