RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The nomination period to run for office this year ended Friday as an appeal was still pending in the U.S. Supreme Court that could impact on the elections.
Republicans in the General Assembly objected to a decision last week by state courts in North Carolina to redraw the state’s 14 congressional districts instead of adopting the Republican-drawn districts.
“The Supreme Court of the United States is generally loath to insert itself when you approach an election, and we propose a primary in May. So that may be part of the reason why the court may have said we’re not going to change anything right now,” said Michael Bitzer, a Catawba College professor and state history expert in matter of recutting and gerrymandering.
With the primary slated for May 17, state election officials said Friday they were moving forward to make the necessary preparations to prepare ballots while watching to see if the highest court in the country intervened.
“I think the United States Supreme Court decision really comes down to: are the dates changing? Because (it) certainly impacts what we need to do to be ready for the federal security requirements absenteeism and things of that nature,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections. “If there’s no change in the cards, we’re prepared to We will begin preparations for the ballot at 12:01 p.m. today.
In their appeal, Republicans argued that the state courts’ decision violated the separation of powers.
However, the NC League of Conservation Voters, one of the groups that originally sued the Republicans, told the Supreme Court in a filing this week that the Republicans’ case is based on a “radical theory” that allegedly contradicts previous rulings. and would lead to “enormous disruption.”
“There are possibilities for the court to take the case. What impact they have on the May primary remains to be seen,” Bitzer said. “There is a mess of constitutional principles at stake in this case alone.”
With Friday’s filing deadline, the remaining candidates who wanted to enter various races made it official, setting up several highly competitive campaigns this year.
Wake County Democrat Sam Searcy has filed for the state’s 13th congressional district. Based on recent voting history, this will likely be the most competitive congressional race in the state in November.
Searcy, a business owner and former state senator, said he had no plans to run this year.
However, when the courts redrew the map of Congress last week, he said things changed quickly.
“I started getting a lot of phone calls after Wednesday when the final cards came out. It took me a good four or five days to make a decision,” Searcy said. “We needed a candidate from the Democratic side that lives in the district and is battle-proof. Every election I’ve been in has been considered a toss-up.”
Searcy faces current Wake County Senator Wiley Nickel, Nathan Click, Denton Lee and Jamie Campbell Bowles in the Democratic primary.
Searcy was re-elected to the state senate in 2020 but resigned from his post a few weeks after winning his race. Governor Roy Cooper (D) nominated Senator Sydney Batch to fill the seat after losing re-election to the state House of Representatives.
“I had a wonderful opportunity to serve the state of North Carolina on the board of trustees of the North Carolina Community College System,” Searcy said, noting that her parents had been attending community college when he was growing up, which helped ease their family’s hardships. “I cared so much that when this opportunity came up, I wanted to take it. And, at the end of the day, listen, we have a fantastic replacement. Sydney Batch is a rock star from south county Wake.