Republicans Are Literally Trying to Steal This Seat in North Carolina
Support Anita Earls for the NC State Supreme Court
Republicans in North Carolina are so worried about Democrat Anita Earls that they have been trying to steal a seat on the State Supreme Court before she has a chance to win on Election Day.
Here's how Slate.com explained the problem in North Carolina earlier this summer:
The North Carolina Supreme Court plays a major role in the state’s politics due largely to the sharp split between the governor and legislature. Republicans hold a super-majority in the North Carolina General Assembly thanks to a racial gerrymandering that has been ruled illegal, while Democrat Roy Cooper serves as governor. Since Cooper won in 2016, Republicans have passed a series of laws stripping his office of power and entrenching GOP rule. (Cooper has attempted to block these extreme measures, but the legislature can easily override his veto.) The state Supreme Court, however, has managed to strike downRepublicans’ more egregious power-grabs by consistent 4–3 votes, ruling that they violate the state constitution.
These rulings pit the court’s Democratic majority against its Republican minority. And North Carolina Republicans are convinced that Democrats’ majority is an accident: When Morgan ran in 2016, the party affiliation of state Supreme Court candidates did not appear on the ballot. But Morgan’s name was listed first, due to a random drawing by the state Board of Elections. After he won, toppling the incumbent GOP candidate, Republicans became convinced that he only triumphed because his name was listed first, and included no partisan affiliation. They speculated that many voters assumed he was a Republican, since Republicans were listed first in other races.
In response, the GOP’s legislative supermajority fundamentally altered the mechanism by which state Supreme Court candidates are nominated, eager not to repeat this ostensible mistake in 2018. First, they added partisan markers to the state Supreme Court ballot so no Republicans would accidentally vote for a Democrat. Second, they abolished judicial primaries for both parties on the theory that a free-for-all in the general election would benefit Barbara Jackson, the Republican incumbent up for reelection in 2018. Jackson, Republicans assumed, would draw no GOP challengers, while Democrats would compete against each other for the spot, canceling out Democratic votes.
This Republican plan seems to have backfired, but it illustrates the depths to which the GOP will sink in order to keep their fingers on the levers of power in North Carolina. This is a state where the Republican legislature has done everything possible to weaken the office of Governor, simply because a Democrat won the state's top job in 2016. The only thing that has stopped NC Republicans from doing more harm is the State Supreme Court, members of which are elected by a vote of the people.
Democrats currently hold a 4-3 majority on the State Supreme Court. They can extend this advantage by electing the super-qualified Anita Earls in November.