Just 20 minutes before the candidate filing period was set to begin Monday, a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals imposed a preliminary injunction blocking potential congressional and legislative candidates for office from filing. The injunction lasts until Friday.

A notice greets potential candidates at the N.C. State Board of Elections office in Raleigh on December 6, 2021. Photo by Maya Reagan, Carolina Journal

“The North Carolina Court of Appeals just issued an order temporarily suspending filing for congressional and legislative offices,” Paul Cox, associate general counsel for the State Board of Elections, told local elections directors at 11:40 a.m.

“By order of the court, the county boards may not file candidates for State House and State Senate until further notice,” Cox wrote. “Likewise, the State Board may not file candidates for U.S. House until further notice.”

Filing in other races, including North Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest and local races, continues.

Republican legislative defendants have until noon Friday to file a response. At that time, the panel could attempt a sweeping and unheard-of move: throwing out three new election maps — Congress, N.C. House, and N.C. Senate — without a trial or fact-finding process.

Judge Darren Jackson, N.C. Court of Appeals

Carolina Journal has learned from sources close to the case that the panel comprised two Democrats and one Republican. It was led by former  N.C. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, a Wake County Democrat. Jackson was appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals by Gov. Roy Cooper after Democrats lost four N.C. House seats in the 2020 elections. Jackson has not stood for an election as a judge but is planning to run for his Court of Appeals seat in 2022.

The Woodshed, by investigative political analyst Dallas Woodhouse, is a unique blend of news and opinion based on his expertise and years of experience in North Carolina’s political trenches. For more follow him on Twitter at @DallasWoodhouse