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Carolina Journal News Reports

Guide to the 13-Candidate N.C. Court of Appeals Race

2010 is maiden voyage for instant runoff voting method

Oct. 11th, 2010
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RALEIGH — Thirteen candidates are competing in a statewide instant runoff voting election to fill a slot on the N.C. Court of Appeals, the first race of its kind in the country.

The seat opened up in August after the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Jim Wynn to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue appointed Cressie Thigpen to fill the vacancy. Thigpen is one of the candidates now vying for the seat.

As reported previously by Carolina Journal, the instant runoff method is being used because the Court of Appeals seat opened up too late for the state to schedule a primary. Voters are instructed to mark their first, second, and third choices on the ballot.

The Federalist Society and the John Locke Foundation (publisher of CJ) sponsored a candidates’ forum Oct. 7 that seven of the 13 candidates attended. Click here for video of the forum.

Canon 7 of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct (PDF download) allows judges and judicial candidates to participate in some partisan political activity, but it prohibits judges and judicial candidates from endorsing candidates for non-judicial races and soliciting funds for election contests other than their own.

Although the race officially is nonpartisan, CJ has compiled available information on the candidates below, including party affiliation, endorsements, current employment, website addresses, and responses to questionnaires by independent groups.

• John F. Bloss
Voter registration: Unaffiliated
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Attorney, Robertson, Medlin & Bloss, PLLC
Questionnaires: NCFEF (N/A), NCFPC (N/A), The Independent (N/A)
Website

• J. Wesley Casteen
Voter registration: Unaffiliated
Endorsements: Former U.S. Sen. Robert B. Morgan (Democrat) and Chris Dean, former chairman of the New Hanover Republican Party
Current employment: Carolina Legal Counsel
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC (N/A), The Independent
Website

• Chris Dillon
Voter registration: Republican
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Attorney and vice president, CapStone Bank
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC, The Independent (N/A)
Website

• Jewel Ann Farlow
Voter registration: Republican
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Self-employed attorney
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC (N/A), The Independent (N/A)
Website

• Daniel E. Garner
Voter registration: Republican
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Attorney, N.C. Commissioner of Banks
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC, The Independent (N/A)
Website

• Stanley F. Hammer
Voter registration: Democratic
Endorsements: N.C. Association of Educators; Harry Martin, former associate justice on the N.C. Supreme Court; N.C. Advocates for Justice
Current employment: Attorney, Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler
Questionnaires: NCFEF (N/A), NCFPC (N/A), The Independent
Website

• Mark E. Klass
Voter registration: Democratic
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Senior superior court judge, Davidson County
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC, The Independent
Website

• John Douglas McCullough
Voter registration: Republican
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Former associate judge, N.C. Court of Appeals
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC, The Independent
Website

• Anne Middleton
Voter registration: Democratic
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Assistant attorney general
Questionnaires: NCFEF (N/A), NCFPC, The Independent
Website

• Harry E. Payne Jr.
Voter registration: Democratic
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Manager of compliance, N.C. Office of Economic Recovery and Investment
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC (N/A), The Independent
Website

•John Sullivan
Voter registration: Democratic
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: N/A
Questionnaires: NCFEF (N/A), NCFPC (N/A), The Independent (N/A)
Website: N/A

• Cressie Thigpen
Voter registration: Democratic
Endorsements: Former state Supreme Court Justice I. Beverly Lake, the N.C. Association of Educators
Current employment: Associate justice on the N.C. Court of Appeals
Questionnaires: NCFEF (N/A), NCFPC (N/A), The Independent
Website

• Pamela Vesper
Voter registration: Unaffiliated
Endorsements: N/A
Current employment: Auditor/investigator for N.C. Real Estate Commission
Questionnaires: NCFEF, NCFPC (N/A), The Independent
Website

David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.