The State Supreme Court ruled this afternoon that the general election can move forward in House District 114, where ex-House Speaker Bobby Harrell remains on the ballot but ineligible to be re-elected.
The State Election Commission ruled unanimously yesterday that Harrell was automatically disqualified from the election by way of a plea agreement with prosecutors over allegations that he put campaign money to personal use. Under state law, a candidate’s disqualification means a special election must be held, but today’s ruling in response to an emergency motion filed by Harrell’s Democratic opponent Mary Tinkler effectively reverses yesterday’s decision.
So, we’re back where we started. Harrell, Tinkler, Green Party candidate Sue Edward remain on the ballot, but Harrell is ineligible to win the seat he held for 22 years before resigning last week.
Though the intent of the court’s stay is to allow for Tuesday’s election to move forward as planned, the parties involved will meet to argue the legal merits of the case at a later date. The results, the court says, are also “subject to further order” by the justices.