GOP winner in Durham Senate primary disqualified

07/08/2014 7:59 PM

07/08/2014 8:01 PM

The winner of the Republican primary in the district that Democrat state Sen. Mike Woodard of Durham represents has been disqualified, after the runner-up complained that he actually lives in Fayetteville.

The Caswell County Board of Elections disqualified Douglas Holmes after a formal hearing last month. The GOP’s executive committee members who live in Senate District 22 will choose a replacement.

Holmes won the May 6 primary against Herman Joubert by 194 votes (about 52 percent of the ballots cast). Joubert immediately filed a formal complaint documenting that Holmes lived in Fayetteville rather than a section of Chapel Hill that is in the district. The district covers parts of Caswell, Durham and Person counties.

In fact, Holmes requested an absentee ballot mailed to his Fayetteville address, which he returned. Holmes didn’t appear at a preliminary elections board meeting nor at two full hearings that were scheduled. Deputies had tried to serve subpoenas on him but were unsuccessful.

He didn’t respond to email or voice mail until two days before the June hearing, emailing that he couldn’t attend the hearing because of health reasons.

P.J. Gentry, chair of the Person County Republican Party, testified that she visited Holmes’ address in Durham County and, as a real estate professional, concluded that no one lived there. She said vines covered the front door, the house was in disrepair and there was trash and debris in the driveway, in contrast with the other homes in “a nice neighborhood.” Its mailbox had been removed.

The elections board agreed that Holmes didn’t live in the district and so was ineligible to run for the Senate seat.

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