State Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, called for legislation Thursday that would limit the amount of time a congressional seat may remain vacant. Adams and other local leaders decried Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to hold a special election to fill the state’s 12th Congressional District seat on the same schedule as this year’s regular elections. Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for the governor’s office, declined to comment on Adams’ proposal. He said in an email that McCrory’s decision took into account several factors, including the estimated $1 million cost of holding a special election and the confusion that voters might experience with multiple primary and general election dates. U.S. Rep. Mel Watt resigned from the 12th District seat Monday when he was sworn in as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Under the special election schedule, 12th District residents won’t have a representative in Congress until November. Adams, who is running for the seat, called McCrory’s decision “shameful.”
“I am deeply disappointed the governor again chose to play politics with our election,” she said. Adams might have a hard time getting her proposed legislation approved in this session of the General Assembly. She’ll need support from the Guilford County delegation to do it, and it includes both Democrats and Republicans. State Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, also plans to run for Watt’s seat.
McCrory set the special election schedule on Monday. The primary will be May 6 and the final election will be Nov. 4. The special election will be held at the same time as the regular election, meaning residents will have to vote twice for the same position on a single ballot. The winner of the special election will hold the seat for about two months. The winner of the general election will then take over for a regular, two-year term starting in January.