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'Politics can be messy' | Reaction to NC court's ruling to delay 2022 primaries

On Flashpoint, redistricting case forces litigants, candidates and civic leaders to quickly regroup for 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. — Candidate filing was put on hold this week after the North Carolina state Supreme Court issued an order that postpones 2022 primaries for two months. 

The ruling comes amid legal challenges to new Republican-approved congressional and legislative maps.  

"Redistricting is a partisan activity," Dr. Michael Bitzer, a political professor at Catawba College, said. "It's the most partisan activity in American politics nowadays."

The delay is intended to give the trial court time to revisit the districts. The lower court has been directed to hold proceedings and reach a ruling on the electoral map claims no later than Jan. 11, 2022. 

RELATED: Supreme Court of North Carolina orders state primary move to May 17

"That is a very quick turnaround, considering we also have the holidays coming up," Bitzer said.

On Nov. 4, North Carolina Republican state lawmakers passed the new maps. Barely 24 hours later, Democratic groups started suing the state, calling the maps unfair and gerrymandered. 

The ruling impacts races across the state, including Charlotte's municipal election which had already been pushed back because of delayed census data.

"The law around redistricting is sort of unsettled," Ed Driggs, Charlotte councilman, said.  "We need to have clarity." 

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Charlotte City Council might need to adjust next year's budget approval process, according to Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, who said a newly-elected council shouldn't vote on the current council's budget.

"It is pretty annoying.  And to be clear, we at the local level, have nothing to do with these decisions," Eiselt said.

Primaries in North Carolina were scheduled to be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. According to the state Supreme Court order Tuesday, primaries will now be held on Tuesday, May 17

"Politics can be messy, can be ugly," Bitzer said.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW SUNDAY AT 11 A.M. ON FLASHPOINT, ONLY ON WCNC CHARLOTTE.

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Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

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