Board rejects Davis congressional vote protest

May. 13, 2014 @ 05:08 PM

The Guilford County Board of Elections unanimously rejected a protest filed today by 6th Congressional District candidate Bruce Davis of High Point, who lost the May 6 primary but questioned whether there were irregularities in the vote tabulation.

Davis, a longtime county commissioner who will relinquish his seat this year because he ran for Congress, filed the protest this morning just before the county Board of Elections conducted a canvass of the primary outcomes. The three-member board, made up of two Republicans and one Democrat, rejected the protest following a hearing on the matter.
On Monday, Davis first publicly raised questions about how votes were tabulated in his primary race against Laura Fjeld of Orange County, who defeated Davis by 12 percentage points to gain the Democratic 6th Congressional nomination. 
Davis questioned whether his wide margin of defeat, including not carrying his home county of Guilford against Fjeld, indicated that there were flaws with voting machines.
Davis claimed it was “inconceivable” that Fjeld could have beaten him by such a wide margin without error or mistake, according to his protest petition.
But the Board of Elections found no evidence of any problems with voting machines during the primary.
Davis was heavily outspent by Fjeld in the race covering all or part of 10 counties. According to campaign finance reports for the first quarter, Fjeld had raised a total of $350,490 through March 31 compared to $13,588 for Davis.
In addition, Fjeld captured a key endorsement from the N.C. Association of Educators, the state’s largest group representing public school teachers.
The NCAE has a long track record of endorsing winning candidates in a range of primaries. Of the 20 endorsements the NCAE made for the May 6 primary, 17 candidates won and one is involved in a runoff. All congressional candidates endorsed by the NCAE triumphed in their primary races last week.
Davis has the option of appealing the rejection of his protest by the county Board of Elections to the N.C. State Board of Elections in Raleigh. Davis told WXII-TV that he’s not sure if he’ll appeal.
Fjeld will face either Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. or former minister Mark Walker of Greensboro as the Republican nominee. The two Republicans will face each other in a July 15 runoff.
The Nov. 4 general election winner will succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-6th, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this year for health reasons at the age of 83.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528