RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Roy Cooper says an assistant prosecutor in North Carolina's largest county will succeed the current district attorney once he's confirmed as a U.S. attorney for the state's western district.

Cooper announced Tuesday plans to appoint Spencer Merriweather to complete Mecklenburg County DA Andrew Murray's term through late 2018, when the position is up for election. President Donald Trump nominated Murray in September to become the top federal prosecutor for much of the Charlotte area and points west.

Murray is a Republican but wanted the Democrat Merriweather to replace him, calling him the most qualified staff member to do so. Merriweather graduated from Princeton University and the University of North Carolina law school. Merriweather joined the Mecklenburg DA's office in 2007 and is a felony trial lawyer.