Former NC senator, newspaper publisher Stan Bingham dies


DENTON, N.C. (AP) — Former North Carolina state Sen. Stan Bingham, a businessman and newspaper publisher whose anecdotes and good-naturedness endeared him to colleagues from both parties, died Thursday at age 76.

Bingham died at his home in Denton from natural causes, Jack Briggs with Briggs Funeral Home said Friday.

Bingham, a former lumber company operator and Davidson County commissioner, was elected in 2000 to the Senate as a Republican.

He served eight terms through 2016, during which he helped pass a “Good Samaritan” law that made people who call 911 to report drug overdoses immune from criminal charges for possessing small amounts of drugs or drug paraphernalia, The Dispatch of Lexington reported.

And he helped get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2010 — approved by voters — that prohibits convicted felons from serving as a sheriff.

In 1995, Bingham founded The Denton Orator, a weekly newspaper that now has thousands of subscribers.

Senate leader Phil Berger said he and Bingham became close friends and confidants during their time in the Senate. Berger said they were the only freshmen Republican senators when they took their seats in 2001.

“He was a successful businessman, statesman and one of my favorite people,” Berger said in news release Friday. “He was an exceptional storyteller and anyone who knew him can recount a time when he regaled them with one of his stories.”

Bingham was also ahead of his time compared to the broader public on energy conservation. He purchased a windmill to generate electricity for his home for a time and converted his Volkswagen to run on cooking oil, according to The Dispatch.

Bingham’s service will be Wednesday morning at Central United Methodist Church in Denton. Survivors include his wife and adult daughters.