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The 2022 midterm elections are the first of the Biden era. They're also the first since the 2020 census, which means there are new congressional districts. There are U.S. Senate races in the Carolinas as well, along with many state and local races.

Jeff Jackson challenges Republican opponent Pat Harrigan's voter registration

Pat Harrigan, left, and Jeff Jackson.
Harrigan for Congress and Steve Harrison/WFAE
Pat Harrigan, left, and Jeff Jackson.

Democrat Jeff Jackson has filed a residency challenge with the Mecklenburg Board of Elections against Pat Harrigan, his Republican opponent in the upcoming November election for the state’s new 14th Congressional District.

Jackson said in a four-page letter that he believes there are “serious irregularities” with Harrigan’s voter registration in Mecklenburg County.

Harrigan spokesperson Jordan Shaw dismissed Jackson’s allegation as a “bogus distraction” and said Harrigan has done nothing wrong.

Harrigan’s family lives in Catawba County, but he rented an apartment in SouthPark after he announced he would run for the seat, to make it easier to campaign. He told WFAE earlier this year that if he won the election he would move his family to the district.

While state legislative members must live in the district they represent, a member of Congress doesn’t have to live in their Congressional district.

Jackson isn’t challenging Harrigan’s ability to run for the seat, which includes Mecklenburg and Gaston counties. He is instead contesting Harrigan voting in the May primary in Mecklenburg County.

He said that Harrigan hadn’t made his new apartment his “permanent domicile” as required by state law. On social media, Jackson wrote that “For someone who says his top concern is election integrity, my opponent owes everyone an explanation as to why he cast a ballot in a county in which he appears to not actually live.”

Mecklenburg County Director of Elections Michael Dickerson said his office will review the complaint. He said state law doesn’t require someone to spend a certain number of nights at their primary residence. It only asks if that’s where they plan to return at the end of the day.

“It’s your domicile, where you plan to return when you leave,” Dickerson said. “And he is claiming that is his apartment in SouthPark.”

Shaw said Harrigan is living in the apartment today. He said Jackson is raising the issue because the race is close and that Jackson is “desperately trying to change the subject from his disastrous inflation-causing policies."

He said Harrigan plans to move to the district whether he wins or loses but hasn’t been able to sell his home because interest rates are too high.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.