Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

Without judicial primaries, NC Democratic Party endorses for statewide races

From left: Anita Earls, John Arrowood, Wayne Goodwin, Allegra Collins and Toby Hampson

North Carolina Democrats have been forced to “take an extreme measure” this year by endorsing judicial candidates for statewide office.

A newly-created endorsement panel met at the Democratic Party convention over the weekend in response to Republican legislator’s eliminating judicial primary elections this year.

Party Chair Wayne Goodwin said they prefer to have voters choose Democratic judicial nominees rather than party officials. He testified last week at a federal trial over the elimination of judicial primaries about the endorsement panel, noting that there was only time to address statewide races — there are four — and not trial court races — there are more than 100.

“This was not by choice or by design,” he explained at a Tuesday press conference. “It was forced upon us by changes by a Republican legislature desperate to hold on to power and afraid to face the voters this fall.”

The Party endorsed well-known civil and voting rights attorney Anita Earls (she also founded the Southern Coalition for Social Justice) for a State Supreme Court seat and John Arrowood (current Court of Appeals judge), Allegra Collins (Raleigh attorney and Campbell University Law School professor) and Toby Hampson (Raleigh attorney) for Court of Appeals seats.

Goodwin said there was no other place in the country that had experienced so many changes to an independent judiciary as rapidly as North Carolina. The legislature in the past two years has made all judicial elections partisan, shrunk the Court of Appeals, cancelled a judicial primary election and dabbled in judicial redistricting.

“They rewrote the law to stack the deck in their favor, and that’s what they do,” Goodwin said.

He expressed concern over a particular measure that allows judicial candidates to change their party affiliation up to the last minute — there used to be a 90-day registration requirement. He said a Franklin County attorney who has publicly criticized Democrats and supported Donald Trump already announced his switch from a Republican to Democratic registration.

“This is not a hypothetical – it’s already happening, my friends,” Goodwin said. “There’s rumors of even more Republicans following suit. These games are unacceptable.”

Check Also

UPDATE: State Board orders new 9th congressional district election after candidate Harris concedes

Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris called Thursday for ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Richard Burr is in the awkward position of investigating whether his ally in the [...]

Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris had no idea Wednesday that his son would would take t [...]

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson on Tuesday released a lengthy list of educat [...]

President Trump’s national emergency declaration, long teased, is in effect. Let the lawsuits begin. [...]

There was much talk this week and last about state Superintendent Mark Johnson’s Tuesday night limel [...]

Many of us may remember the often very implausible notions we had of “where babies come from” when w [...]

Just about anything can happen in American politics. Those who doubt this oft-demonstrated truism ne [...]

Editor's note: Kim Mackey is a social studies teacher with Wake County Public Schools. She rece [...]