Republican Steve Troxler is leading the race over Democratic incumbent Britt Cobb. A voting malfunction in Carteret County caused the loss of more than 4,400 votes. After a number of legal issues, the state Board of Elections decided to hold a new, statewide election.
The ruling from Judge James Spencer orders the board to come up with a new solution to the controversy in the agriculture commissioner's race.
The ruling follows Monday's hearing in which attorneys for Republican Steve Troxler argued against a new statewide election. They brought a box of more than 1,300 affidavits signed by Carteret County voters.
Attorney Marshall Hurley argued the affidavits prove Troxler won the election, and that a new statewide vote is not necessary.
Hurley also accused the state Board of Elections of ignoring other options for the handling the Carteret county problem. He said the democratically-controlled board used a political maneuver to try to help Cobb.
Cobb's attorneys maintain a new statewide election is the only legal solution. A new statewide election would cost taxpayers $3.5 million.
In his ruling, Spencer sends the issue back to the State Board of Elections and orders members to examine the affidavits collected in Carteret County.
In a statement, Troxler has asked the State Board of Elections to meet immediately in special emergency session to certify this election prior to Inauguration Day.
Cobb said he is also frustrated with the process. He said The matter has been bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball.
"Considering the impasse, perhaps it's time the State Board of Elections referred the matter to the General Assembly for resolution in accordance with the State Constitution."
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