Phil Berger gets his Democratic opponent disqualified

I had to grab an excerpt from a %$#@& Facebook post, because for some reason NC's news outlets don't think the most powerful man in the General Assembly pulling a Vladimir Putin is newsworthy:

The Republicans on the panel - defying all logic - voted against Mangrum today, and the case will now go to the State Board of Elections. The Republicans on the panel gave reasons based on speculation and innuendo - not on the law. I believe it was a circus. We have reached bottom, and Berger's gang is covered in dirt. Shame on them. SHAME.

This is a good story for an aggressive reporter to cover. And I suspect it starts, as always, with fear of losing power and dark money fueling the efforts to keep it. I sent a recap to Rachel Maddow. Someone needs to expose this!!!

Hell, it doesn't even need to be an "aggressive" reporter, just somebody to publish the pertinent details would be a good start. This is now headed to the State Board, where hopefully wiser and less partisan heads will prevail. We'll see. But this is a prime example of why Berger & Moore screwing around with election boards should have been completely tossed by the courts. Here's some background on yesterday's bent decision:

The North Carolina Bipartisan Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement voted on Thursday to designate two additional county Board of Elections members to a three-member panel hearing the challenge of Jen Mangrum’s candidacy in Senate District 30.

Board members voted unanimously on April 26 to add Surry County Board of Elections Chairman Dwayne Carter and Caswell County Board of Elections member Yvonne Saul to the multi-county board. The panel, now comprised of five members, will soon decide when and where the challenge – previously scheduled for April 26 in Rockingham County – will be held. Carter and Saul join Rockingham Vice-Chair Toni Reece, Stokes Chairman Robert Robertson and Caswell Chairman Rese Farrish, who was selected by the state board as the panelist chair.

According to the voter search tool on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, the board is comprised of three registered Republicans and two registered Democrats.

A full year-and-a-half after a Democrat won election to Governor, and election boards and "special" panels like this still have a GOP majority.

This pretty much sums up the whole affair:

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WXII seems to have covered it...

I stumbled across a Tweet that led me to this story:

LATE THIS AFTERNOON ELECTION OFFICIALS MEETING IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY RULED THAT A DEMOCRAT CHALLENGING PHIL BERGER FOR THE STATE SENATE DOES NOT LIVE IN THE DISTRICT.

JEN MANGRUM… A PROFESSOR AT UNCG AND FIRST TIME CANDIDATE… SAYS SHE MOVED TO REIDSVILLE AFTER REDISTRICTING SO SHE COULD RUN AGAINST BERGER.

A REIDSVILLE REPUBLICAN… NAMED BILLY CUSHMAN… CHALLENGED HER RESIDENCY AND TODAY ELECTION OFFICIALS FROM CASEWELL… ROCKINGHAM… SURRY AND STOKES COUNTIES… WHICH MAKE UP THE 30TH SENATE DISTRICT… VOTED 3-2 ALONG PARTY LINES AGAINST MANGRUM.

DURING THE HEARING… WHICH ATTRACTED 100 VOTERS… REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS… MANGRUM TESTIFIED HOW THE REPUBLICAN WHO CHALLENGED HER RESIDENCY CAME TO HER REIDSVILLE RENTAL HOME POSING AS A POTENTIAL BUYER.

MANGRUM… WHO SAYS SHE’S RAISED OVER $80-THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR HER CAMPAIGN…. CALLS TODAY’S RULING “APPALING” AND SAYS SHE PLANS TO APPEAL TO THE STATE BD OF ELECTIONS.

ACCORDING TO STATE ELECTION OFFICIALS MANGRUM HAS TWO DAYS TO FILE HER APPEAL.

And before you ask, no, I did not capitalize the whole thing, that's how it's written. It's "appaling" (see what I did there?), and there doesn't appear to be a video related to it, which is kind of important if you're a TELEVISION news outlet. Apparently it wasn't important enough to make the broadcast, although a cat clinging to the roof of an SUV was. *sigh*

And there's this...

It's "counsel," for dog's sake. And there's still nothing in this guy's paper/paper, just Tweets.

If Berger can't stand the

If Berger can't stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen.

Finally a newspaper article...

By the same Tweeter above, found at the News & Record main site, but linking to the Rockingham Now page. So I'm not sure if it will actually be in the Greensboro (dead tree) paper:

The affidavit filed by Cushman states that the real estate agency selling the home said on Feb. 11 that the home was unoccupied and that upon information and belief, that it remained that way through Feb. 28.

Subpoenaed to testify, Real Estate Agent John Hall with ReMax/BlueSky in Reidsville, stated the reason Cushman was told the home was unoccupied was because Hall wasn’t made aware of the fact that the home had been leased out by real estate agent Barbara Moore.

Cross examination by Cushman’s attorney Thursday continued their attempt to prove whether or not Mangrum has attempted to establish her residency in Reidsville.

Questions were asked about if her kids ever visited her Reidsville home. Mangrum testified that they had visited once or twice and that she goes to the Greensboro home regularly to visit her kids.

Questions were also raised about what church she attended, what civic groups she was a part of and if she subscribed to the local newspaper.

And that last sentence right there should be grounds for the State Board to throw this ruling out. What church she attends or what civic groups she has joined *have absolutely nothing to do* with her eligibility to run, and are purely partisan campaign issues at best.

Still nothing from the two main

media outlets that cover the General Assembly. The most powerful politician in that body is using dirty tricks to guarantee his continued hegemony, and not a damn word. They're probably waiting to see what the State Board decides, but this is *already* news. And Berger being able to freely operate on this bent budget and other Legislation, without having to answer pesky questions about Jen Mangrum, is a fricking disservice to the people of NC.

Do Democrats in Berger's district

have the option of naming a replacement candidate - perhaps one named 'Jen Mangrum'?

Either that, or it's time for an 'independent' run by her.

It looks like "yes" to the first part,

but nominating the same person who was disqualified would probably not work. Here's the Statute covering this:

Filling vacancies among party nominees occurring after nomination and before election.

(a) If any person nominated as a candidate of a political party for one of the offices listed below (either in a primary or convention or by virtue of having no opposition in a primary) dies, resigns, or for any reason becomes ineligible or disqualified before the date of the ensuing general election, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment according to the following instructions:

Member of State House of Representatives in a multi-county representative district: vacancy filled by Appropriate district executive committee of political party in which vacancy occurs

In this case, that (particular) committee does not exist, so it would have to be formed/created to deal with that.

As far as Jen running as an "Independent," that party or option does not exist in North Carolina. The "Unaffiliated" candidate option does exist, but it I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work. U candidates have to collect X amount of signatures by the regular (I think) filing deadline.

I think the committees have to be in place...

I know when we had an R drop out, the county R party had not set up a nominating committee at that level so could not pick another candidate. Our D county party always has nominating committees for our NCGA folks and the DA - just in case. If yours does not, you might want to get on it. It's likely you'll never need it but...

Problem is, this is multi-county

I think all Senate Districts are, and quite a few House Districts. But if all affected counties have committees in place, I would think they would be able to swing it.

When a replacement was needed

for Paul Luebke, the committee that was formed consisted of the precinct chairs and co-chairs for every precinct in the district. I imagine the same process would apply here - sort of a district convention with a single purpose.