In 1960, US. senator Lyndon Baines Johnson was the Democrat nominee for vice president of the United States. The dilemma? He was also up for reelection to the Senate from Texas. We all know what kind of guy LBJ was. He always was looking out for numero uno. So, his cronies in Austin put together a rule allowing for folks to be able to run for two offices — like US Senate and vice-president, for instance — at the same time. (Lloyd Bentsen did the same thing in 1988.)
It looks like the very same shenanigans may be in the works here in the Tar Heel State. The honorables on Jones Street approved the new congressional district map yesterday. The drivebys were all abuzz about the big changes. Here’s one big change they overlooked:
[…] No Run for Two Separate Offices at the Same Time. – A candidate who is certified as the winner of a primary election on March 15 and certified as the winner of a primary election on June 7 shall withdraw the notice of candidacy for one of those races no later than one week after the certification of both primary election results in order to comply with G.S. 163-124.[…]
Here’s how this was explained to my fellow House Republican Caucus members yesterday afternoon and evening. Let’s say you file for a state House primary in March. You win that, but decide you want to try your luck at going to Washington instead. You can file and run in the new June 7 primaries for Congress without forfeiting the nomination you won in March. If you win BOTH primaries, you have to pick which one you want. Party leaders can then pick a placeholder to fill the slot you gave up.
My House sources tell me that Dollar-Lewis-Moore sold this to them as a must-approve scenario. The Senate passed it, they argued, and went home. So, the House had no choice but to vote for it. Most rank-and-file House Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming to get behind this.
I am told the Senate insisted on the above language I quoted. Why do this? Let’s refer back to the new maps.
Maps were created to show where all of the current incumbents live in relation to the new district lines. Mark Walker and Alma Adams BOTH will live in the very Republican new 13th district. The 13th is currently represented by George Holding. But it has been moved way, way west away from Holding’s current home base. The new 2nd, represented by Renee Ellmers, includes a nice chunk of what is now Holding’s district.
Consider this: Holding gives up the 13th to run for the 2nd — which is clearly much friendlier territory. That leaves the 13th as a very Republican open seat. Mark Walker would now be a resident of the 13th district. He could run there, and thereby free up the new 6th district seat. The new 6th district includes Rockingham County — the home of current Senate president Phil Berger AND his son Phil, Jr. — who we all know lost a bitter primary to Walker for the 6th in 2014.
If all of those chips fall into place, and Berger files for the 6th in a June primary, he has a fallback. Junior is challenging Judge Linda Stephens for her seat on the Court of Appeals. Under this new rule, he could still file for the 6th congressional district while remaining a candidate for the Court of Appeals. If he wins the congressional primary in June, he has to choose whether he wants to go forward to November as a congressional candidate or judicial candidate.
IF this chaos was initiated for the purpose of obtaining gainful employment for Phil Berger, Jr., it’s an outrage. (Of course, according to the legislation, this all goes out the window if the Supreme Court should overturn or stay the lower court’s ruling on our current districts.)
Let’s see if Junior steps up to file for Congress. (Or if any ”honorables” from Jones Street do the same.)
Once again, it shows that no matter which party you put in charge — the main focus is self-promotion and self-preservation at the expense of the rest of us.