by Jim Stirling
Research Fellow, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina Senate Republicans may have an even greater likelihood of picking up a supermajority after the Democratic candidate in one of the state’s most competitive seats dropped out of the race. Jason Minnicozzi, a public defender for New Hanover County, quit the race after being accused of using his access to court records to track down and proposition a victim of domestic violence. WHQR reported that the victim of Mr. Minnicozzi’s advances came forward on social media after receiving a friend request from the candidate. They also posted the following statement from the victim:
“In 2015, I was assaulted by an ex, his neighbor heard the blows and called the police. At the time they arrived, I had obviously been beaten and was far too scared to press charges, so the state of North Carolina chose to do so instead. It took a month of convincing by the DA to testify against my attacker and see him again face-to-face in a court of law. I chose to do it for the women who could no longer speak against violence like this. It was one of the harder days of my life and I won’t soon forget it. That being said, I was a crying mess and very clearly a vulnerable person in the court room that day.
There happened to be a lawyer sitting in on my case, waiting to use the court room after my case had wrapped. He was defending a male abuser, go figure. How did I know this guy existed? Well, he used privileged court information after watching me take the stand so that he could locate me on Instagram and DM me later that night, asking me out on a date and discussing his plans that day to represent an abusive male. His sympathy was zero, his unlawful use of my information did not evade me, and his only interest was clear to me: he wanted to use his privilege to prey on victimized women, in particular.
So, why share this now? Well, he just sent me a friend request and it turns out the low-life is now running for NC Senate. After realizing his mistake, he immediately blocked me. Smart guy! Would you want to know who this candidate was after hearing all of this? Just curious. Thanks for taking the time to read
His name is Jason Minnicozzi. He is running for NC Senate District 7. Please feel free to share this entire post anywhere, photos included. We need to keep men like this out of our state Senate.”
It is unclear if this happened while he was in the New Hanover public defender’s office or while serving in his previous position as a special victim’s prosecutor and assistant district attorney in Brunswick County.
Minnicozzi officially announced his departure from the race late Sunday, citing a lack of financial resources and implying a further pursuit for public office in the future. The North Carolina Democratic Party was not on the same page, fully acknowledging the allegations, and calling his actions as intolerable.
While Minnocozzi claims finances are the issue, according to North Carolina State Board of Elections data, Minnicozzi was the third-highest non-incumbent fundraiser for Senate Democrats in this year’s first-quarter reports. He raised nearly $64,000, making him 11th out of the 43 Senate Democrats in first-quarter fundraising. Roughly $10 of it is attributed as In-Kind Contributions from the NC Democratic Senate Caucus.
Minnocozzi posted on social media that Governor Roy Cooper personally asked him to run for the State Senate instead of continuing his planned run against Congressman David Rouser (R).
New Hanover Democratic Party leaders will have to decide on a replacement for the Senate District 7 race. The district is ranked a D+0 in the Civitas Partisan Index and is one of North Carolina’s four complete toss-up districts.