In the first year in decades that all judicial races will be partisan races, North Carolina will not have primary elections that allow the political parties to winnow the names of candidates who will appear on ballots this fall. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles notified attorneys for the Democratic Party and North Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday that she plans to rule for the legislators in a lawsuit filed late last year. The North Carolina Democratic Party contended that abolishing primary elections for judicial races violated its right to assemble and choose a candidate of its choice to appear on the ballot.
Eagles announced her decision as the filing period opened for candidates seeking the 140 judicial seats up for election this November.
“Republicans canceled an election and then ran out the clock on any effort to restore voters’ right to choose their judges,” Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. “While we’ll wait to see the full order before discussing the impact, today’s decision is a blow to North Carolina voters and rewards a Republican party determined to further rig our courts before losing power this November.”