Republicans will appeal judge’s decision to allow Anglin GOP designation

The N.C. Supreme Court building in Raleigh (File)

RALEIGH — Republican legislative leaders will appeal Monday’s decision from a judge allowing N.C. Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin to appear on November ballots with an “R” next to his name.

Effectively overturning a law passed in the special legislative session last month, the injunction was issued as part of a lawsuit filed by Anglin,  and Wake County District Court Judge Rebecca Edwards in opposition to a new law retroactively requiring that candidates be a member of the party listed on November ballot for 90 days, or have their name appear on the ballots with no party affiliation.

N.C. Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin

Anglin tweeted Monday afternoon, “I was able to get the injunction! With that, I will (sic) listed on the ballot as a Republican. I want to thank @johnburnsnc Bo Caudill and Dave Bland for their excellent representation. I look forward to being able to focus on the campaign between now and election day. #ncpol.”

Anglin’s lawyer is John Burns, a Raleigh Democrat and Wake County commissioner.

Republican lawmakers say Anglin, who switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican three weeks before filing, is trying to split the Republican vote between himself and Republican Supreme Court incumbent Barbara Jackson to benefit Democrat N.C. Supreme Court candidate Anita Earls.

“Today’s misguided ruling protects Democrats’ deliberate effort to split the vote by confusing voters about a candidate’s true affiliation, despite the state legislature’s authority to set party label rules for candidates,” House Speaker Tim Moore said in a statement released after the injunction was issued.

Lawyers for Edwards and Anglin said the law meant that the legislators were changing the rules midgame.

Historically, judicial primaries candidates had to be registered with the listed party for 90 days. But last October, Republicans canceled the state’s 2018 judicial primaries, letting candidates list their party on the November ballot without time requirements.

Judge Rebecca Holt said Monday that it was reasonable to think Edwards and Anglin would prevail in the lawsuits.

Last week, Anglin sent a letter to the N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement saying that if the court allows the law to go into effect and his name goes on the ballot without a Republican designation, he would withdraw from the race.

The outcome of the case could have big implications on the N.C. Supreme Court where Jackson, an incumbent and conservative associate justice, is being challenged by Earls, a Durham attorney and Democrat. Earls served as the executive director for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice before announcing her candidacy for the N.C. Supreme Court.