North Carolina

Judge rules in favor of NC Supreme Court candidate in lawsuit

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) -  A judge has ruled in favor of a North Carolina Supreme Court candidate who sued after a law was passed that says a judicial candidate's party affiliation won't be listed next to the candidate's name if it was changed less than 90 days before filing for a race.

Judge Rebecca Holt ruled in favor of Chris Anglin Monday afternoon, preventing the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement from printing ballots that label Anglin as anything other than a Republican. 

He’s running as a Republican, but had been registered as a Democrat up until early June.

“I’m going to continue my race to run for disaffected Republicans who are disgusted by the actions of the Legislature,” Anglin said.

During a special session in July, the Republican-led General Assembly passed a law that would have resulted in Anglin having no party affiliation next to his name on the November ballot.

He’s facing off against current Republican Justice Barbara Jackson and Democrat Anita Earls.

Republicans have accused Anglin of entering the race to pull votes from Jackson in an effort to help Earls win, which he denies.

“They want to make the judiciary a division of the Legislature, and they will do anything to help their candidate win,” Anglin said.

During Monday’s hearing, Anglin was represented by attorney John Burns, who is a Democratic member of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

“This statute was designed to keep Mr. Anglin from appearing on the ballot as a Republican. All these other arguments are trying to throw up a smokescreen,” Burns said.

Martin Warf, an attorney representing Republican state legislative leaders, argued the lawmakers had the right to change the law, despite the timing.

“It may have been wise to go back and put that in earlier. The question is not the wisdom of the timing,” Warf said.

Holt disagreed, finding Anglin would be caused “irreparable harm.” She also ruled in favor of Rebecca Edwards, who is running for a Wake County judicial seat. She switched her party affiliation to run as a Democrat.

In an email, Joseph Kyzer, a spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said, “Today’s misguided ruling protects Democrats’ deliberate effort to split the vote by confusing voters about a candidate’s true affiliation, despite the state legislature’s longstanding authority to set party label rules for candidates and efforts to conform judicial races with every other public office statewide. Lawmakers are reviewing their legal options.”

Bill D’Elia, spokesman for Senate leader Phil Berger (R) added, “Republican or Democrat, ‘candidates’ shouldn’t be able to switch parties at the last minute to split the vote. It’s a dirty trick that both sides of the aisle have rightfully condemned. We’re reviewing our legal options as we consider next steps.”

PREVIOUS STORY: 

A North Carolina Supreme Court candidate's lawsuit against Republican legislators over a law preventing him from having his party listed on November ballots is returning to court.

A judge scheduled a Wake County hearing Monday to consider requests by candidate Chris Anglin and a lower-court candidate also fighting the law finalized by GOP legislators earlier this month.

The law says a judicial candidate's party affiliation won't be listed next to the candidate's name if it was changed less than 90 days before filing for a race. Anglin says the law targets him — he was a registered Democrat three weeks before entering the race as a Republican.

Republicans accuse Anglin of trying to split the GOP vote with incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson to help Democratic opponent Anita Earls win.


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