RALEIGH – When the Constitution Party of NC gained ballot access, Republicans on Jones Street suddenly started paying some attention to changing election dynamics brought on by third (and fourth) parties. Subsequently, a ‘Sore Loser’ law was enacted that stipulated a losing primary candidate for one party, could not then run in the same cycle’s general election under another party’s banner.
Three candidates nominated by the Constitution party of NC to run in the November elections did just that, but, importantly, they were nominated before the ‘Sore Loser’ provision actually became law.
That did not seem to matter to Josh Lawson of the State Board of Elections, who declared three Constitution Party candidates ineligible for the 2018 general election based on the ‘Sore Loser’ language.
Well, on July 20th the Party and those three candidates (Jerry Jones, Greg Holt, and Alen Poindexter) filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ruling by Lawson that removed it’s candidates from the ballot after the law changed.
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Vice Chairman Kevin Hayes said in a statement,
“We are asking the courts to place 3 of our candidates back on the ballot. The Constitution Party followed the Law, and our candidates legally filed. Because the Republican led general assembly was afraid of the Constitution Party they opted to target us with a law that would keep New Parties from nominating people who lost a primary.”
To which Al Pisano State Chairman added,
“Clearly this bill was a direct result of The Constitution Party making the ballot. There was no mention of this until after we made the ballot. Removing someone from the ballot after the law changes sets bad precedent and is dirty politics. Even the Democrats never pulled a stunt like this and we believe the citizens of our state will end up rejecting this type of politics.”
Because the ‘Sore Loser’ provision was not yet law when these candidates were nominated, the Constitution Party argues it is an ‘ex post facto’ law that it explicitly forbidden in the constitution. Whether or not this lawsuit goes anywhere is anyone’s guess, but it seems to be a legitimate challenge to the Board’s questionable administration of this law.
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