Court battles over NC elections maps could affect March primary

Political News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Anyone who votes wants to know who their options are on election day.

In an election that can ultimately decide who controls the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, every other candidate on the ballot can be affected.

With a court fight almost guaranteed, it’s a lot to tackle for any campaign.

“And so they build up their fundraising plans, they build up their ad buying plans, everything around that kind of schedule. Anytime you change it, it just throws everything up in the air for the campaigns,” said Meredith College political scientist David McLennan.

So why a court fight?

Let’s go back to the 2020 census.

Those results were delayed which in turn delayed the creation of new election maps.

The Republican-controlled state legislature still hasn’t finished them.

Just like last time – their fairness is sure to be challenged in court.

“It creates a lot of problems. It even determines who can file,” said McLennan.

Any court battle could change the upcoming filing deadline and the March primary.

“If the courts were to take up a matter quickly and put some sort of injunction or other restrictions in place then we will comply with what the courts tell us to do,” said Karen Brinson Bell, director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Because North Carolina’s population grew, the state is getting an additional congressional seat.

North Carolina U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring which leaves that seat up for grabs.

McLennan said, “so we already started with a much shorter period than we would have otherwise so I think there’s a lot of uncertainty around legislative and congressional candidates as to if they can run and if so how do they run.”

But wait! It can possibly get even more complicated.

“We could have separate primaries, we could have just one primary and a separate time for municipal elections. It really does put a lot of things in play” said Brinson Bell.

If candidates are smart, they’re planning for every possible scenario.

“Many of the congressional candidates and legislative candidates running for reelection are probably already factoring this in. Because we’ve just seen so much of that in North Carolina” McLennan said.

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