Politics & Government

GOP ‘enemy’ to get Republican ballot label in NC Supreme Court race

Chris Anglin
Chris Anglin

A local attorney who the N.C. GOP has referred to as an “enemy” will be listed as a Republican when North Carolinians vote for a state Supreme Court justice this November.

The N.C. Court of Appeals on Monday denied a motion by Republican legislative leaders to issue a stay on the case of Chris Anglin, one of two registered Republicans who filed to run for an open seat on the state Supreme Court. The other is Barbara Jackson, the incumbent.

Anglin had sued the legislature along with Rebecca Edwards, a Democrat who is running to become a district court judge in Wake County, after the legislature earlier this summer passed a new law that would have prevented Anglin or Edwards from being able to have their party affiliations on the ballot.

Republican legislators suspect Anglin, who changed his party affiliation shortly before he filed to run, is trying to split the Republican vote to secure a win for Democratic candidate Anita Earls. In a statement last month, the N.C. GOP referred to Anglin as a political “enemy” and “Democratic plant.”

Democrats decried the law as unfair because it changed the election rules after the candidates had already filed to run for office. Anglin had said he would withdraw from the race if he didn’t get listed as a Republican.

On Monday, a spokesman for Republican Senate leader Phil Berger said he and House Speaker Tim Moore were reviewing their options. The spokesman, Pat Ryan, referred to Anglin’s actions as “a dirty trick.” On Tuesday, the Republican leaders signaled that they won’t pursue further actions in court.

A court notice filed by their attorney, Martin Warf, reads:

“Petitioners strongly disagree with (the appeals court) determination, but, in the interests of allowing the Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to finalize the content to appear on the ballot and to avoid unintentionally furthering voter confusion about the status of these candidates or the ballot itself, Petitioners will not seek further review of the trial court’s preliminary injunction order in this Court.”

On Monday, Anglin suggested in a statement that Berger and Moore avoid “further frivolous appeals.” In a statement Tuesday, he thanked them.

I’m grateful Senator Berger and Representative Moore have decided to save taxpayers money and abandon their efforts to change the rules in the middle of an election,” the Anglin statement says. “By standing up for our Constitution, our campaign has already been successful in exposing the folly of partisan judicial elections and legislative leadership’s naked grab for power.”

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Anglin’s attorney, John Burns, a Democrat on the Wake County Board of Commissioners, noted that the appeals court’s decision upholds the ruling of Wake County Superior Court Judge Becky Holt.

“Her decision makes very clear that the General Assembly acted unconstitutionally by changing the rules of this election after the fact,” Burns said.

Warf, Berger and Moore’s attorney, had previously criticized Anglin’s argument that the law infringed on his constitutional rights

“There is no right for a candidate to control what’s on the ballot,” Warf said. He also noted that the new law does not prevent anyone from running for office; it just affected who will have a party label on the ballot — which Warf said “is not a severe burden.”

Specht: 919-829-4870 @AndySpecht