Horner’s candidacy challenged

Rick Horner.jpg

N.C. Sen. Rick Horner


Staff Writer

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A local lawmaker will defend his residency in a hearing set for this afternoon in Smithfield.

N.C. Sen. Rick Horner, a Republican representing the 11th District, which includes Nash and Johnston counties, is running unopposed in the May primary. So far his biggest challenge is proving he lives in Nash County where he served on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education in past years.

A panel will hear a complaint filed by Rocky Mount resident Sue Hanshaw, a registered Democrat, claiming Horner doesn't live in Bailey.

Hanshaw is a longtime North Carolina resident who lived in West Virginia for several years before moving back home in 2013. She said she doesn't have any experience in politics and was asked to file the complaint by a third party. She wouldn't go into detail as to the identity of that third party.

The residency issue arises out of redistricting which moved a portion of District 11 out from under Horner's feet. District 11 now covers the entirety of Nash County and northwestern Johnston County in a near 50/50 population split.

Horner has lived in Wilson County since 2009 and was elected to the N.C. Senate in 2016. Horner said he moved back home to Nash County in December, months ahead of the residency deadline.

Hanshaw said her complaint had enough credibility to be heard.

“Sen. Horner will have to prove he's a resident before he can represent us,” Hanshaw said.

Horner said the complaint is part of a coordinated effort by the N.C. Democratic Party to challenge Republican filings on the last day of the filing period.

“It’s my understanding that the residency of six to eight Republican candidates in both the House and Senate were challenged,” Horner said. “If you read the evidence to support this challenge, it’s more election year foolishness than anything else. The State Board of Elections has put together a three-member panel of two Democrats and one Republican — all three I am told are fair-minded folks.”

Horner said he has proof of his residency in Nash County.

“I welcome the opportunity to present the facts and get this behind us,” Horner said. “The people I work for in Johnston and Nash counties are more interested in hearing about education and keeping our economy moving forward.”

The hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Johnston County Board of Elections on South Second Street in Smithfield.