Constitution Party fields candidates for state legislative, local races

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Constitution Party candidate Allen Poindexter and his wife, Diane, pose with Jeanette Finicum, widow of slain patriot militia activist LaVoy Finicum. (courtesy photo)

The newly recognized Constitution Party chose candidates to run in five state legislative races, one congressional contest, a sheriff’s race and a trio of county commission matches during its nominating convention in Charlotte on June 16.

The far-right party, which promotes limited government and the Second Amendment while opposing abortion, selected Allen Poindexter, a freelance writer, to challenge Sarah Stevens, the Republican speaker pro tem, in state House District 90, which covers Surry County and part of Wilkes.

The 41-year-old Poindexter ran against Stevens in the Republican primary. Stevens easily defeated Poindexter with two thirds of the vote. Poindexter’s instant rematch with Stevens comes down to a one-year fluke: Since the Constitution Party was not recognized by the state Board of Elections until June 6, the party was allowed to skip the primary and nominate candidates directly. Poindexter said he learned about the Constitution Party at the Patriot Network Summit near Pilot Mountain in mid-April.

sarah stevens
Rep. Sarah Stevens

“I got disgusted with the [Republican] party because the leadership lost their way,” said Poindexter during an open question-and-answer period at the convention, which was held at Calvary Church of the Nazarene in suburban Charlotte. Poindexter said he would support legislation to allow small communities to form independent school districts, and supports allowing teachers with proper training and screening to carry firearms in schools.

Kevin Hayes, who serves as the state party’s vice-chair was selected to run in House District 4 —covering parts of Duplin and Wayne counties in the eastern part of the state — where he will face Republican incumbent Jimmy Dixon and Democrat Da’Quan Marcell Love. Hayes said he opposes a tax overhaul passed in 2013 by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which shifts some of the tax burden from manufacturing to services. He said his first act as a member of the House would be to introduced legislation defining life as beginning at conception, and that he favors abolishing the state income tax.

The party also chose Mark Crowe to run in House District 42, the seat in Cumberland County currently held by Democrat Marvin Lucas.

The Constitution Party is putting up two candidates to challenge lawmakers in Mecklenburg County districts. Stuart Collins, a teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, will challenge Democrat Jeff Jackson in Senate District 37, while anti-toll road activist Sharon Hudson will challenge Republican Jeff Tarte in Senate District 41.

The party nominated one candidate in a Congressional race. David Fallin is running in the 7th Congressional District, covering the southeast portion of the state. Fallin joins Republican David Rouzer, who is heavily favored to win, and Democrat Kyle Horton in the race.

The party nominated Tony Keech for sheriff in Beaufort County, who will join Republican Ernie Coleman and Democrat Al J. Whitney. Three candidates received the Constitution Party nomination for county commission seats in the eastern part of the state: Jerry Jones for District 3 on the Greene County Commission, Peggie Lanier for District 3 on the Pender County Commission and Greg Holt for District 1 on the Craven County Commission.

Constitution Party Chairman Al Pisano is expected to submit the candidates’ names to the State Board of Elections on Monday.

UPDATE, June 19, 3:27 p.m.: The NC Senate convenes this evening to consider a vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of SB 486. The election bill contains a so-called “sore loser” provision stating, “An individual whose name appeared on the ballot in a primary election preliminary to the general election shall not be eligible to have that individual’s name placed on the general election ballot as a candidate for the new political party for the same office in that year.”

If approved by a super-majority of the General Assembly, SB 486 would prevent Constitutional Party candidate Allen Poindexter from challenging Republican Sarah Stevens, the House speaker pro tem. Poindexter ran in the Republican primary for House District 90, losing to Stevens, 33.4 percent to 66.6 percent.

Approval of the legislation would also invalidate the candidacies of Jerry R. Jones and Greg Holt, who are seeking county commission seats. Jones ran as a Democrat in the District 3 primary in Greene County Commission, losing to Natasha Sutton, 48.0 percent to 52.0 percent, while Holt ran as a Republican in the District 1 primary for Craven County Commission, losing to Tom Mark, 42.5 percent to 57.5 percent.

UPDATE, June 19, 7:18 p.m.: The NC Senate votes to override the governor’s veto along strict party lines, with 31 Republican members in favor and 14 Democrats opposed. When the House convenes tomorrow, election law bills are among the items on its agenda.

UPDATE, June 20, 1:25 p.m.: The NC House has voted to override the governor’s veto. The provision barring Poindexter, Jones and Holt from being on the ballot in the 2018 general election is now law.

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