This post has been updated to reflect the filing of an appeal by the state. See below.
In the wake of an order entered last week by a three-judge Superior Court panel striking down the judicial retention election law as unconstitutional, the state Board of Elections has opened up a new filing period for candidates wishing to run for the Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Robert H. Edmunds Jr.
Under that law, Edmunds would have been subjected to an up-or-down vote as opposed to facing off against a challenger.
Here’s the relevant excerpt from today’s BOE announcement:
Qualified candidates may file from noon on Wednesday, March 16 to noon on Friday, March 25 at the State Board of Elections office at 441 North Harrington Street in Raleigh. The filing fee for this office is 1% of the salary. If required, a primary will be held on June 7 to coincide with the primary for U.S. House of Representatives.
The Board acted to ensure that the election could move forward in the absence of any further judicial intervention, should at least two more candidates file, warranting a primary.
New candidates will have some catching up to do, as Justice Edmunds organized his re-election campaign more than a year ago and had raised $86,000 as of the end of February.
For more on the pending lawsuit in Faires v. NC Board of Elections, click here.
(UPDATE: The state has filed an appeal of the decision in Faires, and the parties in the case have jointly asked to state Supreme Court to expedite briefing and oral argument in order to have a resolution as far ahead of the general election in November as possible. What this means for the filing and primary calendar set down by the state Board of Elections today is unclear. At the very least, the uncertainty of whether a contested election November will even be allowed in November will have some chilling effect on the willingness of potential candidates to file and fund a campaign.)