NC candidate filing resumes after state Supreme Court decision

A lower court's congressional map and the legislature's redrawn state House and Senate maps will be used for this year's elections.

Posted Updated

Bryan Anderson
, WRAL statehouse reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Candidate filing in North Carolina resumed Thursday, less than 12 hours after the state Supreme Court affirmed new state congressional and legislative districts.

Hopefuls for local, state and federal seats continued submitting paperwork for elected office at 8 a.m. following a long delay.

Filing was suspended in December so courts could hear legal challenges to voting maps drawn and approved by the Republicans-controlled General Assembly in November.

The high court’s decision late Wednesday offered both clarity and confusion to candidates who had been unsure of where they’d run as districts shifted in federal and state races.

Hours after the trial court unveiled the new congressional map, candidates began announcing plans and evaluating their options.

GOP House Speaker Tim Moore last week said he was mulling a run under the legislature's redrawn map. But a replacement map approved by the trial court may have complicated those plans. The replacement map put Moore's home county in the 10th Congressional District, a western North Carolina seat outside Charlotte held by Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry. McHenry has said he is seeking reelection.

"I don't think Patrick McHenry is going anywhere, and I don't think the Republican leadership in Washington wants anyone challenging Patrick McHenry," said Eric Heberlig, a UNC-Charlotte political scientist. "I don't see a home right now for Tim Moore. I thought the best indicator that the courts drew the map rather than the legislature was the fact that there wasn't a district drawn for Tim Moore."

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn could announce a return to his 11th district, the state's westernmost region. In December, he filed to run in the 13th district, which would have included Moore's Cleveland County home and a portion of Mecklenburg County. Cawthorn has not yet said whether he plans to refile his paperwork to return to the westernmost region he currently represents. Luke Ball, a spokesman for Cawthorn, said the congressman "will make an announcement in the near future."

Barring any surprise moves by McHenry or Cawthorn, the newly enacted map leaves Moore with one possible home: The new 14th district that encompasses parts of Gaston and Mecklenburg County. That area is expected to elect a Democrat, according to redistricting experts.

State Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Mecklenburg County Democrat and former U.S. Senate candidate, said on Twitter early Thursday that he would discuss a potential congressional bid with his family and would share more about his plans soon. Jackson is mulling a congressional bid in the new 14th district.

Moore declined an interview request. Demi Dowdy, Moore's spokeswoman, said in a statement that the speaker is "disappointed" by the Supreme Court's decision to let the trial court's congressional map stand. Asked if an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is in the works, Dowdy replied that the speaker's office is "now weighing our options."

On the U.S. Senate side, Cheri Beasley, the presumptive Democratic nominee, filed her candidacy paperwork Thursday. She’s running to fill a seat vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Sen Richard Burr. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory, combat veteran Marjorie K. Eastman and former Greensboro-area U.S. Rep. Mark Walker have been fighting for the GOP nomination.

A trial court on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, enacted a congressional map to be used for the upcoming elections. Candidate filing has resumed for the statewide May 17 primary.

Walker had considered ending his Senate bid to enter a U.S. House race, but he announced last month that he'd stay in the Senate race amid uncertainty over what the finalized maps would look like.

The trial court's enacted map could complicate a jump for Walker to the U.S. House race. Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning plans to file for reelection in the 6th Congressional District, which includes Greensboro. Conservative political newcomer Bo Hines and former Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers had planned to run in the 6th but are rethinking that decision because the new map leans far more Democratic.

In the 9th district, which includes all of Chatham County and parts of Cumberland County, Democratic state Sen. Ben Clark and Republican state Rep. John Szoka said they'd seek their respective parties' nominations. In the Republican primary, Szoka would be competing against U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who announced Thursday morning he'd seek reelection in the 9th district.

Hudson’s move created an avenue for GOP U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop to run in the 8th district, which is outside Charlotte and stretches from Davidson to Union counties. Bishop on Thursday said he'd run for the 8th district.

Those running for office for the May 17 primary have until noon on March 4 to submit their paperwork.

Candidates who filed in December and had their notice of candidacy accepted by the North Carolina State Board of Elections don't need to refile if they still wish to run for the same office and district, the board said.

Among the other notable candidates announcing plans:

  • Democratic U.S. House Rep. Alma Adams said she’d seek reelection in her Charlotte-area 12th Congressional District.
  • Republican incumbent Rep. Greg Murphy said he'd seek reelection to his coastal 3rd district
  • Democratic incumbent Deborah Ross submitted her candidacy paperwork for the new 2nd district, which covers the northern part of Wake County.
  • State Sen. Wiley Nickel, a Wake County Democrat, said he'd run in the highly competitive 13th district. Republicans DeVan Barbour and Kelly Daughtry also plan to vie the seat.
  • Former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Erica Smith, Democratic state Sen. Don Davis and state Rep. James Gailliard said they would compete for the party's 1st Congressional District nomination that stretches across the eastern part of the state.
WRAL Statehouse Reporter Travis Fain contributed to this report.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.