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Republican branded as Democratic plant sues GOP for benefits

April 29, 2019 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A candidate for the Republican nomination in a still-vacant North Carolina congressional seat is suing the GOP after being barred from debates and access to internal party data. Republicans call him a Democratic plant who cost them a seat on the state’s top court last year.

Candidate Chris Anglin of Raleigh said Monday that he wants a state court to force the state Republican Party to give him access to voter lists, calendars and other data already provided to nine others in the 9th Congressional District field. Anglin also has been barred from participating in Republican candidate forums or debates.

Anglin’s lawsuit acknowledges that the state Republican Party is a nonprofit organization, but he claims the GOP also has a public role as one of the two major political parties enshrined in law. Taxpayers also pay for the party’s nominating primaries, Anglin said.

The party also is violating its internal rules not to choose favored candidates in primary elections, Anglin said.

“Chris Anglin’s frivolous lawsuit to access a private organization’s data and resources is nothing more than a publicity stunt,” state GOP spokesman Jeff Hauser wrote in an email.

The state Republican Party last year pointed out that Anglin was a registered Democrat until changing his registration three weeks before filing to run for state Supreme Court. Then-state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said after Anglin entered the race last month that he’s not a real Republican and would not be allowed access to GOP data, information, or infrastructure.

Hayes relinquished his party activities this month after being indicted on federal charges that he tried to bribe the state’s insurance commissioner on behalf of a wealthy donor and then lied to FBI agents.

Anglin ran last year against an incumbent Republican on the Supreme Court and a liberal Democrat, who won in part thanks to the divided GOP vote.

State judges blocked a law quickly approved by the GOP-led legislature that sought to block Anglin from being listed as a Republican on the November ballot because he switched his affiliation too close to filing. Anglin argued, successfully, that the law unfairly targeted him.

Now he’s running in a special congressional primary on May 14 that was ordered after an operative working for Republican nominee Mark Harris, who appeared to win last year’s 9th District election, was accused of illegally handling mail-in ballots. Harris opted not to run again this year.

Anglin’s longshot GOP candidacy is highlighted by the fact he hasn’t filed a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission. Anglin said Monday that’s because he hasn’t collected $5,000 in contributions, beyond which a filing is required.

Anglin has been critical of President Donald Trump’s positions on several issues and statements. He accused the state Republican Party of banishing him because it demands conformity with the president.

“There is no one right way to be a conservative, but there are things that politicians can do to betray their conservative values,” Anglin said in a blog post last month. “If members of Congress allow this branch to become a subservient branch to the Executive and simply take marching orders from the president on policy that does not reflect true conservatism, they betray their conservative values.”

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