NC Capitol

NC Capitol

GOP judicial candidate sues to block Cooper from appointing Wake judge

Posted January 12, 2021 8:24 p.m. EST

— A Republican who lost a race for a Wake County judgeship in November has filed suit to prevent Gov. Roy Cooper from appointing someone to fill the seat after the winner of the election was disqualified.

Democrat Tim Gunther defeated Republican Beth Tanner in the race for the Wake County District Court seat, but the Wake County Board of Elections later disqualified Gunther because he doesn't live in the Fuquay-Varina district the seat represents.

State law doesn't allow the elections board to name Tanner, the only candidate left in the race, as the winner. Rather, it allows the governor to fill vacancies on the District Court bench from a slate of candidates submitted by the local bar.

Tanner's federal lawsuit seeks to prevent Cooper from appointing someone else to the open seat and is requesting that a new election be held in District 10F.

The Wake County Republican Party is assisting Tanner with the lawsuit.

"Democrats ran a legally unqualified candidate, leaving Beth Tanner as the only candidate who ran for office in District 10F. It is unfair for them to go back now and rewrite the rules to appoint someone who did not run for office," Donna Williams, chairwoman of the county GOP, said in a statement. "This is about standing up for what is right."

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