Greensboro City Councilmember Justin Outling is currently alone in the 2022 Greensboro mayor’s race.
Outling is the only candidate who filed to run for mayor before the North Carolina Supreme Court – on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 8 – suspended filing for all races in the state and delayed the scheduled March 8 primary to May 17.
Outling filed to run for mayor at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 8 without any indication that would be the last day of filing until, well nobody knows until when because the NC Supreme Court ruling suspended filing and delayed the primary but set no date for reopening filing for the May 17 primary.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who had said she would probably file later in the week, didn’t have the opportunity.
And, of course, any other registered voter is free to file to run for mayor when the filing reopens.
When asked how the delayed primary affected his race from a campaign perspective, Outling said, “It gives us more time to knock on doors.”
He added, “Obviously, I’m disappointed. We were ready to go in October and November.”
When Outling announced he was running for mayor in December 2020, there was no reason to think the election wouldn’t be held on schedule with the primary in October and the general election in November of 2021.
But looking on the bright side, Outling said that this time of year you have to stop neighborhood canvassing when it gets dark about 5 o’clock. He said, “I’ve been wishing the days were longer and now I’ll have the spring season and summer season to be out knocking on doors.”
Outling said, “It’s not good for elected officials to serve longer than the terms they were elected to serve.” He said that they were all elected to four-year terms and that was extended by the legislature to April or May of 2022, when the general election had been set, and now has been extended to an unknown date because the NC Supreme Court ruling delayed the statewide primary to May 17 but set no date for the municipal general elections that are to follow.
Outling said that from a legal perspective the NC Supreme Court ruling disappointed him because usually such injunctions are narrowly tailored and he saw no legal rational for delaying the Greensboro City Council election that will not be affected by the court decisions on the legality of the redrawn congressional and North Carolina legislative districts.
He said, “In my opinion, the injunction should have been only for those races that could be affected by the results of the lawsuit.”