State says Tony Moore ineligible to run
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on April 29, 2012 1:50 AM
Assistant News Editor
With early voting well under way and the May 8 primary quickly approaching, the state Board of Elections decided Friday that state Senate candidate Tony Moore doesn't meet the residency qualifications after all.
In March, the Pitt County Board of Elections ruled that Moore was eligible to run for the Democratic nomination for District 5, which covers parts of Wayne, Greene Pitt and Lenoir counties. His residency was questioned by fellow Winterville resident Calvin Henderson, who questioned whether Moore had lived in District 5 for the required amount of time. State statutes demand that candidates live in their legislative district for at least one year prior to the date of the election in which they are running.
At issue was Henderson's contention that Moore had not moved into his Church Street residence until January. Originally Moore did not refute that contention, explaining that he had owned the property there for four years, and that, prior to the redistricting, he had lived in District 5 at his old address, indicating the confusion was a result of the state General Assembly moving the boundary lines.
"I lived in the 5th District and moved to the 5th District. My old residency is in the now 7th District, and my new residency is in the 5th District," Moore said in March.
He said he was told by state and local officials when he filed that there shouldn't be a problem with his residency.
On Saturday, though, Moore explained that he has actually been physically living in his Church Street home since August 2011, which would make him eligible to run in the November election. He said the confusion over the January date was caused by issues with having cable run to the home, the fact that not all of his mail goes to the residence -- that some goes to his businesses and his two P.O. boxes -- and the length of time it took to have the address on the house changed from a side entrance to the front entrance.
He said he believes the reason the state board overturned the Pitt County Board of Election's decision upon Henderson's appeal is because the state Democratic Party doesn't want him to win the seat.
"I raise too many questions. I'm a businessman, a person who wants to make a change and make a difference," he said.
However, Moore is and will still be on the ballot, and he plans to continue campaigning for the seat.
"I'm still going forward," he said.
And he plans to appeal the state's decision to the N.C. Court of Appeals once the written opinion is released, he hopes by Wednesday.
Moore, a former District 5 senator and current Winterville town councilman, is running against Don Davis, a former Snow Hill mayor and also a former District 5 senator. There is no Republican opposition in the majority-minority district.