By Jesse Wood
In years past following the November elections, residents of North Carolina generally got a breather from the elections season until at least the new year.
But just a few weeks after the Nov. 3 election, the candidate-filing period for the 2016 primary and general elections starts on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and runs through Monday, Dec. 21.
The primary will take place on March 15 – instead of May as it has been in the past.
The N.C. General Assembly passed legislation and Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law this week. (According to the State Board of Elections, the law also changed the required length of time a candidate for a partisan primary must have been affiliated with the party he or she is running with from 90 to 75 days. So the last day to change political affiliation and be able run in the primary for the general election is Oct. 7.)
As for the date change for the primary, the N.C. General Assembly has been looking to do this for a couple years now, according to the News and Observer:
“The General Assembly agreed two years ago to move up the May 2016 presidential primary to increase North Carolina’s clout, but national party officials threatened state Republicans and Democrats with the loss of convention delegates because they would have actually occurred in late February.
The new law moved all primaries in the name of saving counties the financial costs of holding two primaries and saving the public any confusion. Final bond package legislation that McCrory is expected to support also sets the referendum date for the presidential primary vote.”
The moving up of the primary to May has been described as a “big deal” in next year’s election cycle:
According to CBS News, “… the change also has serious implications for the huge field of Republican presidential candidates as they draw up their nomination roadmaps. North Carolina has in recent years held its primary in May, and by May, the nominee is usually a foregone conclusion. There hasn’t been a competitive Republican primary in May in 40 years.”