North Carolina Democrats’ state votes move to late 2018

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The Democratic legislators filed a request for the postponement of the primary race in the state

The Democratic-dominated legislature in North Carolina has moved its vote for a new state Senate president and state House speaker to the year after the November 2018 elections.

Last week, a court ordered a new primary for both offices because the current crop of officials is at the center of a corruption investigation.

On Monday, North Carolina’s Supreme Court agreed with the new date.

A Republican-led legislature, which passed laws stripping the Democrats of power, is now obliged to hold new races at the same time.

The move comes weeks after a raid on the executive offices of the Senate president and speaker, on accusations of conspiring to illegally sell the state’s seat in Congress to a political ally.

A previous trial of the accused – former state legislators, Larry Martin and Odell Hester, both former state senators, is under way.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The complaint alleged corruption in the bid to buy the US Congress seat

State elections board officials had previously recommended holding the primary in July 2019.

Following last week’s ruling, the new date will be set on 29 January.

The move means North Carolina would hold its primary, which will elect its next state lawmakers, on 15 May 2021.

Public hearings to determine the election date will now be scheduled for Tuesday 18 January to 25 January.

Party affiliations: What’s in it for the Democrats?

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption North Carolina was sued in December for discriminating against its citizens who do not identify as a resident of the state

Just how North Carolina has come to this is perhaps best illustrated by the spending of one senator, Bob Pittenger.

He campaigned for the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat he later won. He was previously an undefeated county and district champion wrestler in North Carolina.

In the race to become governor, Pittenger is getting a large amount of money from people with a vested interest in the outcome.

He is being paid $1,000 (63p) a day from employees of several Florida companies with interests in North Carolina, including UPMC, the largest healthcare corporation in the United States, and America Movil, the largest cellphone company in Latin America.

A third company, one of the largest construction firms in the country, is paying $150,000 (£120,000) for campaign work, the Associated Press has reported.

A political action committee is paying $1.1m (939,000) to Pittenger’s political consultants.

Legal rulings that legalise abortion and struck down a referendum which sought to ban same-sex marriage were the most controversial examples of recent rulings that saw Republicans lose control of many state government officials.

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