News: CJ Exclusives

Supreme Court candidates Anglin says he’ll drop out if he loses in court

Chris Anglin, a state Supreme Court candidate, leaves the House gallery Saturday, Aug. 4, after a veto override that strips his Republican Party affiliation from the ballot. (CJ photo by Dan Way)
Chris Anglin, a state Supreme Court candidate, leaves the House gallery Saturday, Aug. 4, after a veto override that strips his Republican Party affiliation from the ballot. (CJ photo by Dan Way)

State Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin has offered to withdraw from the race if the courts don’t restore his affiliation as a Republican to the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

Anglin hand-delivered a conditional candidate withdrawal notice Wednesday, Aug. 8, to the N.C. Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The conditional withdrawal comes two days after he filed a lawsuit against the General Assembly and won a temporary restraining order in the case.

“While I firmly believe and intend to prove in court the legislature’s action is an unconstitutional violation of my rights, in the unlikely circumstance that the courts allow it to go into effect, I will not allow my party designation to be misrepresented on the ballot and aid their efforts to rig this election,” Anglin said in a written statement to Carolina Journal.

“Thus, I have informed the State Board of Elections of my conditional withdrawal if I am not listed on the ballot as I intended when I filed,” Anglin said. Anglin, a longtime registered Democrat, changed his registration to Republican about three weeks before he filed for the Supreme Court seat held by incumbent Republican Justice Barbara Jackson. Democratic civil-rights attorney Anita Earls also is running.

Anglin has two options if Senate Bill 3, the law he challenged in Superior Court, is upheld. He can remain on the ballot without a political affiliation, or withdraw from the race. S.B. 3 passed in late July during a special legislative session. The law prohibits judicial candidates from switching political parties less than 90 days before the filing period. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the measure, and the legislature overrode the veto Saturday, Aug. 4.

Anglin said in his letter he would withdraw if the court orders the elections board to remove his Republican affiliation, or the elections board determines it is necessary to certify, finalize, and print election ballots without a court order.

If he prevails in court, he will remain in the race.

Anglin said S.B. 3, which was retroactive, unfairly targeted him, and he filed suit in Wake County Superior Court on Monday, Aug. 6, winning a temporary restraining order.

Judge Becky Holt has scheduled a hearing on the merits of the lawsuit Monday, Aug. 13.

During debate over S.B. 3, Republicans said Anglin was really a Democratic operative running as a Republican to split the vote with Jackson to benefit Earls. Anglin denied the allegation, calling it a stunt.

“Legislative leaders are so frightened by our campaign and message, that in a stunning act of cowardice, they called a special session with no notice, and passed a law to misrepresent our campaign on the ballot,” Anglin said in his statement to CJ. He said he followed all the rules in effect at the time, and changing them in the middle of an election is wrong.