RALEIGH – In a recent elections bill that completed making all judicial races partisan races, as well as offering clever protections to the vendor with the State’s ballot printing/election systems monopoly, was also a ‘sore loser’ provision that would prohibit losers of one party’s primary turning around and running in the general election under a different ticket.
The provision was undoubtedly sparked by the Constitution Party of NC gaining ballot access and subsequently recruiting conservative Republicans that unfortunately didn’t win their May 2018 primaries.
Well, for obvious reasons, the Constitution Party has a problem with that provision. Specifically, if lawmakers attempt to make it retroactive it would necessarily target the Constitution Party’s recently announced nominees, some of which were Republican primary contenders in May.
According to the party’s treasurer:
“On Saturday, the Constitution Party of North Carolina nominated its candidates; and on Monday, the party presented these nominations– in person– to the state Board of Elections in Raleigh. It must be noted that, at the time we made these nominations and submitted them, the law was not yet effective because Cooper had vetoed the legislation on Friday night.
If the state Board of Elections attempts to apply this new law to any of the Constitution Party’s candidates, it would be an “ex post facto” law. That is unequivocally illegal under Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution. The states are specifically prohibited by the Constitution from enacting “ex post facto” laws— i.e., laws that attempt to make illegal things that occurred before passage.
It will be interesting to see how the state Board of Elections handles this situation. But it is quite clear what the U.S. Constitution requires.”
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While the motivation for Establishment Republicans to fend off challengers from the right, especially those that jump ship after a primary loss, is clear to see. It is not clear that is such a burning desire for 2018 elections with the couple of Republican primary losers that are nor Constitution Party nominees.
Our bet is that Republican leadership is more politically savvy than blatantly blocking competition via an ex post facto law and further aggravating conservatives that are already suspicious of anyone in the seats of power on Jones Street.
Time will tell.