Senate, Congress, General Assembly candidates mostly absent from filings as courts wrestle with new district lines

North Carolina News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The names of Mark Walker, Ted Budd and Pat McCrory don’t show up on the list of candidates who filed on the first day for North Carolina’s soon-vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Those three Republicans have announced their intentions to replace retiring Republican Richard Burr of Winston-Salem in 2022, and each has had his own turn in the spotlight for that race.

McCrory is a former governor. U.S. Rep. Budd (R-Davie), who represents the 13th District, has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. And Walker, a Greensboro resident who represented the 6th Congressional District for three terms, has been asked to leave the Senate race and run for Congress in a newly drawn 7th District.

But all that remains to play out.

The names on the list posted by the North Carolina Board of Elections after delayed filing began on Tuesday morning included Democrat Everette Snyder “Rett” Newton of Beaufort and Republicans Jen Banwart of Holly Springs, Lee Andrea Brian of Clayton, Benjamin E. Griffiths of Cleveland, Charles Kenneth Moss of Randleman and Lichia Sibhatu of Raleigh.

Numerous candidates were able to file starting at noon Monday filed for state and local judicial seats and other local races, but everything else remained fluid as candidates for Congress and the state House and Senate largely waited to hear how the courts might feel about the district lines that were drawn for their races.

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races while lawsuits about the validity of the district lines were considered, but by Monday evening the full court had withdrawn that injunction.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 asked the state Supreme Court to look at the case, and observers on Tuesday were expecting to hear something from that request by at least Wednesday.

Filing is scheduled to continue through noon on Dec. 17, notwithstanding the courts, and state candidates are required to file their paperwork in Raleigh, where many were lined up before the delay on Monday.

The 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 a 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.

Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro), who represents the 6th District for Guilford and Forsyth counties, saw her district divided dramatically and her residence placed in a far-flung 11th District that also includes 5th District incumbent Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk).

The county now also is split among the 10th and 7th districts, and the 7th District, which is comprised of the eastern half of Guilford County across to the southwestern portion of Wake County and northwestern portion of Harnett County and includes all of Alamance, Chatham, Randolph and Lee counties and an eastern slice of Davidson County, has no incumbent.

That’s why Walker has been mentioned in the race. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that Walker on Saturday visited Trump at his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in a bid to win Trump’s endorsement. Walker said he had secured that endorsement, but he has made no announcement.

Federal filings had included the names of about a half-dozen Republicans interested in running in that district – state Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford County), who had said he considered a run, was not among them – but as of Tuesday afternoon the BOE’s list of candidates showed no candidates in the 7th District.

Manning’s and Foxx’s new 11th District includes all of Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Alleghany, Aske, Wilkes, Caldwell and Alexander counties, and it also includes small “bubbles” of Watauga County, which otherwise is in the 14th District, that include Foxx’s home address.

Unlike Guilford and Forsyth, all have proven to be Republican-voting counties.

Foxx announced on the day the maps were approved that she would seek re-election, although she has not filed. Manning has not announced her intentions. No one else is listed as having field with the BOE.

The new 10th District includes the southwestern corner of Guilford County, both north and east of High Point, the western swathe of Davidson County, the southern half of Iredell County and all of Davie, Rowan and Cabarrus Counties.

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) is considered its incumbent, and he has filed to run.

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