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Congressional, judicial voting begins Thursday

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Ginger Livingston

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Early voting begins Thursday in special primary elections for North Carolina congressional seats and a state Supreme Court seat — elections necessitated by court rulings that affected the races.

Pitt County will operate one site, the Center at Alice F. Keene Park, 4561 County Home Road, during the early voting period, which runs through June 4.

The site’s hours of operation are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and May 31-June 3 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 4. The site is closed Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday.

Voters in the 1st Congressional District have no congressional primary elections because incumbent Democrat G.K. Butterfield, Republican H. Powell Dew Jr. and Libertarian J.J. Summerall were the only people to file and will face each other in November.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Republican voters will choose among incumbent Rep. Walter Jones and challengers Taylor Griffin and Phil Law. Democrats will select either Ernest Reeves or Davis Allen Hurst.

The state is having a special election for its congressional primaries because a federal three-judge panel in February ruled the congressional district boundaries for Districts 1 and 12 were unconstitutional and had to be redrawn. The ruling came after absentee ballots for the March 15 primary had been mailed.

The General Assembly then redrew the boundaries of the state’s 13 districts and submitted the plan for the panel’s approval. It also opted to hold a special election on June 7 because there wasn’t enough time left before the March primary for candidates to file in the new districts and to send new ballots to absentee voters.

Along with allowing Republicans and Democrats to select their congressional candidates for November’s general election, voters also will be able to cast ballots for a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court.

Four candidates are competing in the primary. The top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot. Filing for that office opened in March after a court struck down a 2015 law that would have asked voters if incumbent judges should be retained on the Supreme Court. Opposing candidates would have been able to run only if voters cast a majority of ballots against retention.

The State Board of Elections has produced a online voting guide, available at www.ncsbe.gov, which includes brief biographical information and a statement from the four judicial candidates. Below are details about the judicial candidates:

Michael R. “Mike” Morgan

Wake County Superior Court Judge 2005-present; District Court Judge 1994-2004

• Previous work experience: State administrative law judge, N.C. Department of Justice staff attorney and research assistance with the state justice department.

• Education: N.C. Central University School of Law

• Statement: “With more than 26 years of current judicial service, 24 years of current teaching tenure at The National Judicial College instructing other judges, and a long record of community involvement and uplift, I have a unique preparation in the ability to legally analyze, assiduously study yet humanly understand the challenges of society with which the Supreme Court is presented,” Morgan said.

• Website: www.judgemichaelmorgan.com

Daniel Robertson

Attorney, Law Office of Daniel Robertson

• Previous work experience: Bank of the Carolinas, general counsel; Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice; federal law clerk for three judges, member of Mississippi, North Carolina, California and Missouri bars.

• Education: University of Mississippi School of Law

• Statement: “Unlike most of the candidates for the Supreme Court, I am a political outsider who has never held political office, lives outside the Raleigh beltway and has extensive experience working directly for North Carolina citizens and businesses,” Robertson said. “I want to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court to ensure that the rights and liberties of all North Carolinians are fully preserved and that the laws are equal;u and fairly applied to all.”

• Website: None

Robert Edmunds

Senior Associate Justice, N.C. Supreme Court

• Previous work experience: Assistant district attorney, assistant United States attorney, worked in private practice, N.C. Court of Appeals judge.

• Education: University of North Carolina School of Law

• Statement: “As the only candidate with experience on the Supreme Court, my record is an open book,” Edmunds said. “I enjoy bipartisan support of most of North Carolina’s leading lawyers, including four former Chief Justices, former presidents of the North Carolina State Bar and North Carolina Bar Association and almost all of North Carolina’s elected sheriffs.”

• Website: www.JusticeEdmunds.com

Sabra J. Faires

Attorney with Bailey & Dixon

• Previous work experience: Legal counsel to Republican and Democrat legislative leaders and committees, assistant secretary of N.C. Department of Revenue, attorney at the Office of Administrative Hearings.

 Education: University of North Carolina School of Law

• Statement: “I am an independent unaffiliated voter and am running for Supreme Court Justice to get politics out of o ur highest court,” Faires said. “If elected, I pledge to be diligent and fair and to apply the law without ideological agenda.

“I fought for the right to run in this election by successfully challenging an unconstitutional law passed last year by the N.C. Legislature prohibiting everyone but the current justice from running. But for my lawsuit, voters would not have a choice in this election.”

• Website: www.sabrajeanfairesforjustice.com

 

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.

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