Archived News

New candidates allowed to sign up in congressional race

election timeNorth Carolina will hold a separate election on June 7 for the congressional primary, which means it’s not too late for new candidates to throw their hat into the ring.

A new sign-up period is now open through Friday, March 25, for candidates interested in running for the District 11 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, is currently serving his second term in the seat and signed up to run for a third term. 

A Democratic primary was originally scheduled for March 15 along with the other local, state and Presidential primary elections, but a federal court order forced North Carolina to reschedule it for June 7. 

The change is a result of four lawsuits working their way through the courts challenging the state’s districting maps that were redrawn in 2011 and used during the 2012 and 2014 elections. The lawsuits claim Republican legislators gerrymandered the maps. The state Supreme Court upheld the maps twice but federal judges threw out the 1st and 12th congressional districts on Feb. 5. 

The state then received a federal trial court order to suspend the current congressional election, and on Feb. 19 the North Carolina Senate passed legislation establishing the new date for the congressional primary. The additional primary election will cost N.C. taxpayers about $9 million. 

Tom Hill, D-Zirconia, and Rick Bryson, D-Bryson City, were the only candidates signed up to run in the primary for a chance to replace Meadows in November, but more candidates may now sign up. As of press time, no other candidates had registered to run for District 11. 

Bryson said moving the primary to June has created confusion for voters since the congressional candidates still appeared on the March 15 ballot. 

“A lot of people feel that they’ve already voted, and are wondering if or why they should do it again,” he said. “If they do not vote on the June primary, obviously they are not going to have their voices heard with respect to their choice for the House of Representatives.”

Even though the change is inconvenient and expensive, Hill said it was necessary given the unconstitutional gerrymandering done by the Republican-dominated legislature. He said it should be outlawed at the federal level.

Voter rolls are also open once again, meaning new voters can still register and current voters can change party or other registration information for the June 7 primary. Unaffiliated voters who selected a partisan ballot in the March 15 primary will be permitted to select a different party on the June 7 ballot.

For additional information and to see an updated list of candidates, visit

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.