BY MICHELLE WAGNER
OUTER BANKS SENTINEL
The State Board of Elections officially recognized the Constitution party last week, paving the way for the state’s fifth political party to put candidates on the 2018 General Election ballot. What’s not clear yet is who will be running under the party’s banner this November.
In describing its platform, Constitution Party Vice Chair Kevin Hayes said, “We are looking for candidates who stand for the Constitution… to get back to what our founders intended for this country. We want to get back to traditional family values, we are pro-life and pro-second amendment.”
The Constitution party also proclaims “Anti-Socialism,” “Religious Freedom,” “National Sovereignty” and “Private Property Rights” among its seven core values. It advocates for tax relief for parents who educate their children outside the public schools system, wants the government to end cooperation with the World Health Organization and calls on the U.S. to withdraw from the United Nations.
Hayes estimates that the party could end up with anywhere from six to 20 candidates on the ballot this year. As the Sentinel went to press — with the midnight June 12 deadline for applying for the party’s endorsement looming — Hayes said no one from Dare County has yet sought the party’s endorsement, but added that some potential candidates had expressed interest.
A nominating convention has been scheduled for June 16 in Charlotte, at which time candidates will be selected for November’s ballot. State law requires that the names of any new party’s candidates be filed by July 1.
One of those who has displayed some interest in running, Hayes said, is incumbent Republican State Representative Beverly Boswell, a Dare County resident who was defeated in her party’s primary by Currituck County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig.
“Oh yes, she’s expressed interest and is aware we have a deadline,” Hayes said.
As of press time, Boswell had not responded to a Sentinel request for comment on a possible Constitution party candidacy. The Dare County Board of Elections said that, as of June 11, she had not registered under the Constitution party affiliation.
One roadblock for any candidate who may seek Constitution party endorsement but lost in the May primaries is a provision in N.C. Senate Bill 486, which would expand what is known as the “sore loser law.”
Passed by both the N.C. House and Senate earlier this month, the bill now awaits action by Governor Roy Cooper. The clause would prohibit candidates who lost in the primaries from not only running as independents during the same year’s general election, but also on another party’s ticket.
The late-hour provision, Hayes told the Sentinel recently, “is probably a reaction [by some lawmakers] to hearing Beverly Boswell might switch parties and they didn’t like that and decided to block it.”
“We’ve already made a formal request that [the governor] veto the bill,” Hayes asserted, adding that if the bill becomes law, it would be likely challenged in court by either the party or the individual candidate.
So far, two candidates who ran and lost in the May primaries have sought the endorsement of the Constitution party – Greg Holt, a Republican who made a bid for the Craven County Board of Commissioners, and a Beaufort County sheriff’s candidate who Hayes said hasn’t been announced.