RALEIGH – When the Constitution Party of North Carolina attained ballot access, the antennae of Republican lawmakers on Jones Street perked up. When they started courting candidates that had been Republican primary contenders, the lawmakers decided to put an end to it.
So, the legislature passed a ‘sore loser’ law that barred any loser of a primary from then running in the next immediate general election under the banner of a different political party. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper, and eventually overridden and enacted as law, but not before the Constitution Party officially nominated their candidates for the 2018 general election.
Still, the State Board of Elections stripped the eligibility of several Constitution Party candidates for 2018 elections based on the law. That application of the sore loser law to represented an ‘ex post facto’ law, and thereby unconstitutional, because the candidates were fielded before the bill was law. At least, that’s what the party’s lawyers argued when they sued to restore those candidates to the ballot.
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Now a court has agreed with them.
U.S. District Court Judge Louise G Flannigan granted The Constitution Party of North Carolina’s motion to place its candidates back on the ballot after they were removed by the vote override of Senate Bill 486.
This ruling is actually consistent with an earlier court decision to restore the listing of N.C. Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin’s Republican affiliation on the ballot (even though he is a Democratic plant) because the law was similarly passed after the fact and was reaching back in time to apply it to Anglin.
The party was obviously pleased by the news.
State Chairman Al Pisano said, “Today was a major victory. I hope people are finally getting fed up with the Leadership of Phil Berger and Tim Moore and them wasting tax payer dollars on needless lawsuits. It’s not right for them to change the law when they feel threatened or to change it for partisan advantage after the fact.“
The ruling means three candidates can now resume their campaigns, two for county commissioner seats, and one for the N.C. House.