By Richard Sullins | firstname.lastname@example.org
Just three days into the start of the 2022 campaign season, things got weird. Again.
In a late Wednesday evening ruling, the North Carolina Supreme Court delayed the state’s primary for the 2022 elections from March 8 to May 17, 2022 and immediately stopped the filing period for candidates that just started on Monday – essentially freezing the field for the time being.
The decision of the court is aimed at giving time for challenges to the newly drawn district maps to be heard in court and, if necessary, changed. Every primary election in the state is impacted by the delay, although there will almost certainly be no impact on the general election in November.
The court chose not to rule Wednesday on the two lawsuits that were filed immediately after the Republican-led legislature adopted maps that would have been more favorable to the GOP. At least one analysis of the state’s map of its 14 congressional districts found that Republicans are likely to win at least 10 and possibly 11 of the 14 seats.
As of Wednesday, there were 2,494,407 registered Democrats in the state, compared to 2,459,873 unaffiliated voters and 2,180,805 registered Republicans.
Challenges to the state’s voting maps have taken years to make their way through the courts in the past, but the Supreme Court’s six page order issued Wednesday puts these cases on the fast track by directing that the lower court must rule on the merits of the two cases challenging the new districts by January 11, but it’s a virtual certainty that both cases will ultimately end up back at the State Supreme Court.
Candidates who filed for office during the first three days of this week will not need to file again. The court said that “any individual who has already filed to run for public office in 2022 and whose filing has been accepted by the appropriate board of elections, will be deemed to have filed for the same office under the new election schedule for the May 2022 primary.”
Before filing was halted, Democratic incumbent Pat McCracken filed for re-election to the Lee County Board of Education on Wednesday. He was joined by Democrat Walter Ferguson, with both candidates making Facebook posts about their candidacy.
Republican Eric Davidson filed for the school board Monday, and Republican Chris Gaster followed him Tuesday, announcing his candidacy in a Facebook video:
The current chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, Republican Kirk Smith, filed for re-election on Tuesday.
Democrat Linda Kelly Rhodes filed Wednesday for the at-large seat on the Sanford City Council currently held by Democrat Chas Post, who announced Monday he wouldn’t seek a third term. Rhodes also announced her candidacy on Facebook:
Susie Thomas, the Democratic incumbent Clerk of Superior Court and Republican Brian Estes, who will become Lee County’s interim Sheriff on January 1, both also filed for their respective offices on Monday.
Once these cases are resolved in January or February of next year, a new abbreviated filing period will likely be announced for persons who wish to run for public office in 2022.
Additional reporting by Gordon Anderson.