State Rep. Bobby Hanig of Currituck County has filed a protest over the residency of his opponent in the November general election for N.C. Senate, claiming Valerie Jordan does not live in the Third District and that she be removed from the ballot.
A preliminary hearing on the protest has been scheduled for Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Currituck County Board of Elections office.
“Residents of Northeastern North Carolina deserve a Senator who lives in the district and understands the challenges facing them, not someone who has lived in Raleigh for 24 years,” the Republican from Powells Point said in a statement released Tuesday.
“I have lived in the district for thirty-years and I know the voters want a representative who knows the people, the communities and the issues that matter to Northeastern voters,” Hanig said. “Whether my candidacy for State Senate is ultimately successful or not, the voters in my community and the 10 counties in Senate District 3 deserve representation by someone, Republican or Democrat, who lives here and shares their values.”
The protest filed by Hanig on Monday with the Currituck County Board of Elections calls for a subpoena of records that would establish Jordan’s permanent residency.
WNCN-TV reports Jordan, a Democrat, has claimed she lives at an address in Warren County, though online records show she voted in Wake County as recently as the November 2020 election before changing her voter registration to Warren County after that.
In his protest, Hanig claims “for a three-week period in July and August 2022…Jordan’s vehicle was photographed in the driveway at her home on 23 consecutive mornings”; that as recently as last fall she made political contributions listing Raleigh as her primary residence; that she owns multiple properties in Warren County while tax records list Jordan’s home address in Raleigh for her contact information; and that as a member of the state Transportation Board her official biography on the NCDOT website has Raleigh listed as her “long-time” hometown.
“Anyone that would suggest that I don’t live in Warrenton clearly doesn’t know Warrenton, which is exactly what’s wrong with Raleigh politicians like Bobby Hanig,” Jordan said in an emailed statement to The News and Observer.
“This part of our state has been left behind for too long and I look forward to putting eastern North Carolina back on the agenda when elected,” Jordan said.
Jordan told The N&O that she was born and raised in Warren County, where she went to school, “put in tobacco here, and I raised my daughter here. While I did move to Raleigh for work, years ago, I began commuting back to Warrenton daily to take care of my dying mother. Caring for my mother while she was sick was a deeply painful experience, but the support I received from my Warrenton family and friends reminded me of just how much I love this community and it inspired me to move back home after her passing in 2020,” she said.
“Warrenton is my home, where I pray on Sunday, and where I host our family dinners,” Jordan said.
Hanig has served in the N.C. House since 2018 and is expected to be nominated Thursday to fill the remaining term in the state Senate of Bob Steinburg, who resigned the First District seat at the end of July.
The new Third District is composed of parts of the current First District, and stretches from Currituck to Interstate 85. The race between Hanig and Jordan is considered key to GOP’s efforts to once again have a super majority in the General Assembly.
Hanig’s protest comes less than four weeks before the first absentee ballots will be distributed for the November elections. State law allows a party’s nominee to withdraw prior to that date, which is September 9.
North Carolina statutes require a candidate to live in a district for one year before an election.
If that happens and is in enough time to change the name on the ballot, the replacement’s name will be placed on the ballots. If it’s not done in time, any votes for the withdrawn candidate will count for the replacement candidate.
The Currituck Board of Elections will conduct a preliminary review of the protest application during the emergency hearing Wednesday, but will not hear witness or other testimony.
“If the county board of elections determines that the protest meets the requirements (of state statue), it will schedule an evidentiary hearing to be held at a later date,” Currituck Board of Elections Director Brandie Draves told The Daily Advance on Tuesday.