by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
About a month ago, Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington published an investigative report on the resident status of a Democrat judicial candidate, Tim Gunther. Carrington uncovered that the house Gunther was not living in the home claimed as his residence in Wake County. Yesterday, the Wake County Board of Elections determined that Gunther violated the law after Gunther admitted to having never lived in the district in which he ran. Carolina Journal reporter Kari Travis writes:
When Gunther filed as a Wake County District Court candidate in 2019, he told the Wake County board he lived in Judicial District 10F. In November, Gunther won that seat over Republican challenger Beth Tanner.
But Gunther lied about where he lived. He has owned a house in Cary since 2006. That puts him in District 10D…
Gunther owns a home in Cary, Carrington confirmed, in an entirely different judicial district than the one in which he ran. Gunther’s ex-wife and daughter own the Fuquay-Varina home he claimed as his residence. His daughter appears to live there with her boyfriend.
It is still not entirely clear what will happen with the open seat now that Gunther will not take office. Travis writes:
Unless Tanner files a challenge in Superior Court and is declared the winner, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would appoint someone to fill Gunther’s seat. Cooper usually appoints judges to empty district court seats.
But Gunther’s term hadn’t begun. He hadn’t taken the oath of office.
If Cooper picks a replacement, Democrats will have won the seat, even though it was secured illegally by a candidate who lied about where he lived.
That’s why Tanner should win the election, Erwin said. The Republican candidate received the second highest number of votes. Gunther got 56.19% of the ballot count. Tanner received 43.81%.
Not likely. You can never lawfully win an election unless you finish in first place, Gerry Cohen, a member of the Wake County board, told CJ.