Three on ballot for NC Supreme Court seat

Raleigh, N.C. — The top statewide race in the November election is for the North Carolina Supreme Court, where three‘s a crowd for a Republican justice trying to hold on to her seat.

Justice Barbara Jackson has served on the Supreme Court since 2010 and is seeking a second eight-year term. Her Democratic opponent is Anita Earls, a prominent civil rights attorney who‘s been involved in several legal challenges to state voting maps.

Republican lawmakers canceled judicial primaries in May while they worked on redrawing judicial districts for trial courts. But the move also played a role in the Supreme Court race.

Anticipating a tight race between Jackson and Earls, lawmakers counted on more Democrats jumping into the campaign, which would split the Democratic vote in the general election and help Jackson keep her seat.

Instead of that happening, however, Raleigh attorney Chris Anglin filed to run as a second Republican. He had changed his affiliation from Democrat to Republican only weeks earlier.

“The Republicans say the Democrats chose someone to take votes away from Barbara Jackson, the other Republican on the ballot, so it‘s voter confusion, leaving one Democrat, Anita Earls,” Meredith College political science professor David McLennan said. “But Anglin comes back and says, ‘No, this is who I am.‘”

Republican legislators responded by because he hadn‘t been registered as a Republican long enough. in court, and a .

So, Anglin is still on the ballot as a Republican, and McLennan said that should help Earls.

“Right now, Anita Earls has got a pretty substantial lead in the two polls that I‘ve seen that have looked at that, and I think it really does come down to two Republicans on the ballot and one Democrat,” he said. “Democrats are going for their candidate; Republicans are splitting between the two Republicans.”

Elections for three state Court of Appeals seats are the only other statewide elections on the ballot this fall, although voters across North Carolina also will vote on six proposed constitutional amendments.