Election board moves NC Senate candidate protest forward

A Marine color guard marches into the Senate chamber during the opening session of the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CURRITUCK — A closely divided county elections board in North Carolina determined on Tuesday that there’s substantial evidence that a state Senate candidate doesn’t reside in the district for the seat she’s running for this fall.

The Currituck County Board of Elections voted 3-2 to forward its findings from its election protest hearing involving the candidacy of Democratic 3rd Senate District candidate Valerie Jordan to the State Board of Elections to make a final decision, news outlets reported.

Republican candidate Bobby Hanig, who was recently appointed a state Senate seat covering many of the counties of the 3rd District seat, lodged a protest last week questioning whether Jordan actually resides in Warren County. Warren is one of 10 northeastern counties that make up the new 3rd District.

The Currituck board’s two Republican members and board Chair Susan Johnson, a Democrat, agreed to send the case to the state board. The other two Democratic members said Jordan lives in the 3rd District.

Hanig alleges Jordan, a state Board of Transportation member, never moved to Warren County despite changing her voter registration to her stepfather’s house in Warrenton in December 2020.

Rather, he said, Jordan moved into a Raleigh house in the late 1990s. Hanig’s case on Tuesday centered around photos of two vehicles at Jordan’s Raleigh home that his attorney alleges show she stayed there at least 23 consecutive nights in July and August.

Currituck board members “put partisanship aside and voted to do the right thing,” Hanig said. “I fully expect the State Board of Elections to do the same thing.”

Jordan said she considers Warrenton her home and that she splits time between there and Raleigh because her daughter and grandson live in the state capital.

In a statement after the hearing, Jordan called Hanig’s protest a “political stunt” and said she was confident the state board “will correctly recognize my residency here in Warrenton.”

Democratic Party officials would have to find a replacement for Jordan should she ultimately fail to remain a candidate.

The printing of ballots in the 10 counties is being delayed until the protest is resolved, State Board of Elections spokesperson Pat Gannon said. Jordan’s name will remain on the ballot if it doesn’t get resolved, he added.

The outcome of the 3rd District race could decide whether Senate Republicans gain a veto-proof majority in the November elections. Such a margin could make it easier for the GOP to override bills that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes.