Can we expect things to get quiet on the candidate residency front?

As reported in The Carolina Journal last week, a billionaire activist had filed a complaint with the North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) against North Carolina Senate candidate E. C. Sykes. The complaint claims Sykes is not a resident of the district he seeks to represent. Since the complaint was filed too late to hold a hearing about Sykes’ place on the ballot, it was filed as a protest seeking to overturn election results if Sykes wins.

The complaint includes a lot of evidence purporting to show that Sykes does not live on his property in the district but in a rental house outside the district a few miles away:

The complaint notes the presence of the camper at Sykes’ in-district property but says it’s not connected to electricity and that neighbors near the private, gated road “have never seen anyone staying in the camper on a regular basis.”

Sykes said the camper has electricity.

“There’s full utilities,” he said. “It’s got a great fireplace inside of it. My grandkids love it. It’s got a loft in it when they stay out there with us. It’s really quite comfortable…”

It also includes affidavits from neighbors near the new property, including one who says there was “no activity and no trace of anyone” there from January to April.

The complaint also includes evidence from a private investigator indicating that Sykes usually lays his head down at the rental house outside the district.

We Have Seen This Show Before

The evidence would seem pretty convincing, except for what happened in a similar case last summer. A complaint against North Carolina Senate Candidate Valarie Jordan included evidence indicating that she actually resided in Raleigh, which would have put her well outside the Senate district she was running for in northeastern North Carolina. Despite that evidence, the SBE decided on a party-line vote to not replace her on the ballot.

Comparison of Valerie Jordan and E. C. Sykes residency challenges

Unless we are to believe that the SBE decided the Jordan case on a partisan rather than evidentiary basis, we should expect that Sykes would similarly get the benefit of the doubt.