Members of the Wake County Board of Election upheld a challenge against a Raleigh City Council candidate Wednesday. The challenge, filed with the board at the end of July, accused District D candidate Jerome Goldberg of moving to the district too late to run for the seat.
Goldberg’s attorney Jerry Meek said they will appeal the ruling in Wake County Superior Court.
Goldberg told the three-member panel that he filed for the office on July 17 and moved into an Avent Ferry Road rental property that he owned that night and slept on an inflatable mattress.
The county’s Board of Elections panel decided the challenge based on the rule that a candidate in a non-partisan election has to reside permanently in the district when they file. Panel members said that since Goldberg moved into the Avent Ferry property on July 17 and then moved again to another home he owned on Kent Road on August 3. The Avent Ferry address he gave when he registered, the panel members argued, was not his permanent residence.
In an interview after the hearing, Goldberg’s attorney said the standard applied is unconstitutional because candidates only have to be eligible voters. To be an eligible voter, Meek said, a candidate only has to live in the district for 30 days before the election.
The attorney said the residency requirement for filing conflicts with the state constitution’s definition of an eligible voter and he plans to make that argument in Wake County Superior Court.
Meek said Wednesday that he plans to file the appeal within a day.
Goldberg owns several rental properties in the Avent Ferry area.
Goldberg told the panel he had planned to move into another property he owns on Kent Road within 30 days of the election from his previous home on O’Neill Road in unincorporated Wake County. He said his wife still lives in the O’Neill Road home and that is still his mailing address.
He said the Kent Road house is being worked on after the recent tenants moved out at the beginning of this month. Goldberg said his wife would move there “when it’s in a shape that’s more acceptable to her.”
Goldberg admitted to the panel that he had spent some nights at his O’Neill Road home. When asked by panel members how many nights he had spent in District D since filing for office, he couldn’t give them a specific number. “It’s more than 50 percent of the nights,” Goldberg said.
During deliberations, members of the elections board said they were concerned that Goldberg had not abandoned his previous home. Wake County Board of Elections Chair Sharron Everett said the question over abandoning the old residence as defined by statute “really is an issue for me.”
A Wake County Board of Elections representative said the ballots for the October 6 election have already been printed, and Goldberg’s name is on them.