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RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — The NC Supreme Court late Wednesday postponed the primary election until May and stopped filing on all races while hearings are conducted on lawsuits attacking the redistricting process.

The primary scheduled for March 8 now will be held on May 17.

Filing had been underway since noon on Monday and was scheduled to continue until Dec. 17, but many candidates for Congress and the General Assembly had delayed filing to see how the courts might rule.

The notice from the Supreme Court says that anyone who already had filed would still to be considered to have qualified for the new primary date.

Three lawsuits were filed against the redistricting plan approved last month by the General Assembly that would be in place through the 2030 election cycle. Democrats and critics say the Republican-drawn maps are illegally gerrymandered to maintain dominance by the GOP in Congress and the General Assembly for a state that historically has been split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

The 2020 census provided a 14th congressional seat that had to be included, and the dominoes that knocked over among candidates were felt profoundly in Guilford and surrounding counties.

In its stay, the Supreme Court ordered the trial court to consider all complaints.

A 3-judge panel from the NC Court of Appeals on Monday morning issued a pause on filing in those races while lawsuits about the validity of the district lines were considered, but by Monday evening the full court had withdrawn that injunction. Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein had asked the state Supreme Court to look at the case.