Breaking news in Forsyth County election

CLARIFICATION: Ed Hanes says that some of the information in this article is incorrect. One example that came immediately to mind concerns the location of his business, Monticello Park. Hanes told me the business is based in Winston-Salem, and he works out of an office in the Piedmont Tower in Winston-Salem. A reverse lookup for the work phone number listed for Hanes’ candidate filing at identifies the number as a landline in Winston-Salem, Walkertown or Kernersville.

He acknowledged that the Asheboro and More article cited by Bonham does give the impression that his business is located in Asheboro.

The article quotes Hanes as saying, “I now have this free office space in Winston-Salem, which is fine because it works with our plan to be3 there for our parents. However, I recognize the unique business environment and opportunity Asheboro provided for you young business people. I really felt my business had a much better opportunity to not only survive in my first nine months in Asheboro vs. Winston-Salem, but to thrive. My friends in Winston-Salem wouldn’t like to hear that, but I think I made the right choice. My business was started here for a reason and, I believe, will remain here long term no matter where we live.”

ORIGINAL POST: Jimmie Bonham, a Democratic candidate for NC House District 72, plans to file an official challenge to the residency of primary opponents Ed Hanes Jr. and Wayne Patterson at the Forsyth County Board of Elections at 3 p.m.

UPDATE: The official challenge (link) has been filed.

"Several citizens who live near these guys have contacted me stating that they live with their wives and their children and not at the addresses where they filed for candidacy," Bonham told me earlier today. "That creates suspicion with me to see exactly where their domicile is."

Bonham charges in his challenge that Hanes is a resident of Asheboro, which is not part of District 72. The challenge also states that Patterson's wife resides and owns property at an address different from the one the candidate listed in his filing, and that he should be required to prove him true residence to establish his qualifications to represent District 72.

Hanes acknowledged in an interview that 3920 Pomeroy Drive, the address he used to file as a candidate for District 72, is his father's home. The candidate owns and operates a business, Monticello Park LLC, in Asheboro. Voting records show that Hanes has voted only once, in 2010, using the Pomeroy Drive address.

"My mother died very suddenly in December of 2006 and shortly after that my wife and I made the decision that I would transition my living space to Pomeroy so that I could be with my father," Hanes said. "The decision was a private one and the right one to do. It's meant a lot of driving and a lot of nights away from my family. I'm glad we did it, and we'd do it all over again."

The challenge cites an article in the December 2011 issue of Asheboro and More Magazine stating, "In 2006, his mom passed away resulting in a decision to look after his father by splitting time between Asheboro and Winston-Salem."

Hanes is quoted in the article as saying, "That was a difficult decision for us, for me to move home, but one we felt was necessary based on our family values and our desire to care for our parents. Driving from Winston during the week and maintaining two households (and a rental in Durham) is tough, but we make it work."

Hanes said his wife, a self-employed certified registered nurse anesthetist, now lives with him in Winston-Salem. Both are from Winston-Salem. Hanes said their house in Asheboro has been on and off the market for years and that they have been unable to sell it, adding that they don't want to take on a third mortgage by immediately buying a new house in Winston-Salem.

State law requires a candidate whose residency has been challenged to prove through a preponderance of evidence that he or she is qualified to be a candidate.

"The local board [of] elections holds an evidentiary hearing where rules of court prevail," Forsyth County Elections Director Rob Coffman said. "Witnesses can be subpoenaed. The board will determine if the candidate holds the qualifications to run for office based on a preponderance of evidence. That's different from a criminal [case], where you're required to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's like 51 percent says he lives there, 49 percent says he doesn't; he lives there then."

A paper (link) by NC Board of Elections General Counsel Don Wright states that the candidate who has been challenged must show

• an actual abandonment of the first domicile coupled with an intent not to return to the first domicile;

• the acquisition of a new domicile by actual residence at another place; and

• the intent of making the newer domicile a permanent domicile.

Bonham's challenge charges that "Ed Hanes Jr. did not intend to permanently leave his wife, Traci, and two children, Madelyn and Evelyn, in Asheboro within Randolph County and live away from them permanently by choosing to temporarily help his father who resides at 3920 Pomeroy Drive in Winston-Salem, North Carolina."

Coffman said state law requires the Forsyth County Board of Elections to hold a hearing within 20 days, but that because the board is already under the gun by a deadline to send out absentee ballots he hopes to hold the hearing by the middle of next week at the latest.

Hanes said he regrets that Bonham filed the challenge.

"He knows my mother has passed," Hanes said. "That's really unfortunate and unsavory. The people of this district are going to reject that type of politics."

Patterson's case may be more cut and dry.

He told me that a Renigar Street address that is listed on his filing papers is his primary address. He acknowledged that he has a second residence, on Poindexter Avenue. Coffman confirmed that the Poindexter Avenue address is located in District 72, as is the Renigar Street address.

"Due to the fact that my campaign is all about integrity, I will not stoop to dirty politics," Patterson said. "Clearly, I live in the 72nd, I work in the 72nd and I play in the 72nd."

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