RALEIGH — A new North Carolina political party has won a federal court victory so that a handful of its candidates can appear on the November ballot despite a new state law.
A judge on Wednesday halted enforcement of the law finalized in June that would prevent three candidates chosen by the Constitution Party of North Carolina’s convention from running because they had lost in another party’s primary in May.
Among those who had lost a GOP primary but was then chosen to run on the Constitution Party ballot was Surry County’s Allen Poindexter. He lost a May bid to unseat GOP incumbent Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Mount Airy attorney who represents the 90th District seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.
Shortly afterward, he secured a spot on the Constitution Party ballot to make another run at the seat in November, but the General Assembly enacted a law that specifically precluded those who lost primary bids for elected seats across the state from appearing on the ballot for the same seat under a different party banner in the fall election.
In late June, state elections officials were insistent Poindexter, as well as other candidates in a similar predicament, were ineligible to run under the new law. Poindexter was equally insistent he would run, and if Wednesday’s decision remains standing, it appears he was correct.
The Constitution Party sued the state elections board, calling the new law unconstitutional. The judge granted an injunction Wednesday, writing that retroactively removing the candidates was an “erratic execution” of election laws. The Constitution Party gained official recognition from the state just before the sore-loser law passed.
The state elections board and Republican legislative leaders didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the decision.
The Constitution Party, along with the Green Party, just won official designation on the state ballots earlier this year.