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Candidates for NC Supreme Court hold debate

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RALEIGH — One seat is up for grabs this fall on the state Supreme Court.

Political observers label this as one of the most important races this election season because it could tip the balance of power from conservative to more liberal. Current Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby and Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin sat down at Campbell Law School in Raleigh Thursday to talk about why they should sit on the bench at the state's high court.

“I have a well deserved reputation of being thorough. The reason for that is because I think the litigants have a right to know what happened to them in the opinion that the court enters,” said Ervin.

“Four former chief justices who look at my work, very involved in the legal community, very involved with the bar association, very involved with law schools. Four former chief justices say that I deserve to be re-elected,” said Newby.

Both of these candidates are participating in public financing for the campaigns, Newby has a Super PAC putting out commercials on his behalf. But Ervin has released an ad saying these ads from an outside interest group are questionable.

Both candidates argue politics doesn't and won't play into their decision making. Judicial elections are non-partisian in North Carolina. However, when taking a look at the voter registration of all the current supreme court justices, it is a 4-3 count right now.

The majority of seats go to Republicans. Newby is one of those registered Republicans, and Ervin is a registered Democrat.

The outcome of this race could determine the balance of power if and when big cases like the new state and congressional district lines eventually land in the supreme courts docket.

Candidates will not be listed with party affiliation on the ballot, and it will not list which candidate is the incumbent.

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