(Updated: 4:19pm) Peter D’Abrosca, a far-right blogger who had planned on running for Congress in North Carolina’s 7th District on a position of ceasing all immigration into the United States for 10 years, can thank his own negligence for the fact that he will not be a candidate in his district’s 2020 Republican primary.
In December, the North Carolina State Board of Elections canceled D’Abrosca’s notice of candidacy in accordance with a state election law that requires people running in a political party’s primary election to have been registered with the party for at least 90 days before filing their candidacy. D’Abrosca had only been registered as a Republican for eight days before he attempted to file. On Tuesday, the board rejected his appeal.
But before D’Abrosca was booted from the ballot, he attracted the attention of the white nationalist website VDARE for his proposal of a 10-year moratorium on legal immigration. Fox News host Tucker Carlson featured D’Abrosca on his show on Dec. 6 and gave D’Abrosca an opportunity to promote his anti-legal immigration talking points, despite the fact D’Abrosca was not an official candidate and did not notify the state of his candidacy until Dec. 11. (D’Abrosca filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Aug. 9.)
At the Jan. 7 state board meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, D’Abrosca appeared with a lawyer in tow, who attempted to argue that because D’Abrosca had worked as a right-wing blogger, the fact that he had not successfully registered to vote as a Republican in time to fulfill the candidate requirement should be overlooked. D’Abrosca has authored articles for the GOP consultant-run Big League Politics blog and anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer’s blog, and he testified under oath to the state board that he now works for former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s War Room media outlet. A War Room spokesman told Right Wing Watch that D’Abrosca does not and never has worked for War Room. Reached for comment, D’Abrosca would not dispute the War Room spokesman’s denial of his employment.
Ultimately, the argument was unsuccessful.
“We can’t research a candidate and make some qualitative judgment about party affiliation,” one board member told D’Abrosca and his counsel, before explaining why formal party registration was important for record-keeping.
D’Abrosca and his lawyer also tried to argue that D’Abrosca should be granted an exception to the 90-day requirement because D’Abrosca had attempted to register to vote as a Republican when getting his driver’s license in 2013, despite the fact his attempt to register to vote was ultimately denied due to D’Abrosca’s own negligence. “What’s the harm in putting Mr. D’Abrosca on the ballot?” his lawyer asked the board.
Pat Gannon, a spokesman with the NC State Board of Elections, told NBC-affiliate WECT why his attempt to register to vote was denied: “It’s not that the registration was never processed, but rather that Mr. D’Abrosca failed the mail verification notice procedure outlined in G.S. 163-82.7 and therefore his voter registration application was denied.”
D’Abrosca testified that he had not voted in any election since he attempted to register in 2013, and he gave conflicting testimony over whether he had attempted to vote in 2016; he first told the board that he had attempted to vote for Donald Trump in 2016 but arrived at a closed polling station, but then admitted that he had looked up the closing times of the polls and decided not to drive to a polling location. When pressed by board member Jeff Carmon, D’Abrosca said the latter story was the truth and that he had made a “Freudian slip.”
“I mean, look man, the fact of the matter is I wasn’t going to make it. The polls were closed. I feel like I’ve conveyed that,” D’Abrosca told the member.
State board secretary Stella Acosta, acting as chair of the board to fill an absence, asked D’Abrosca if he had attempted to early vote in 2016, to which D’Abrosca told the board of elections that it would be surprised at “how many people in this country don’t vote.” He said, “I couldn’t have even told you what early voting is at that point.” Acosta informed D’Abrosca that people who have issues registering to vote often learn and remedy their issues when they try to cast a ballot in an election.
At the end of the hearing, Carmon scolded D’Abrosca and his lawyer.
“You haven’t given us anything to consider that from 2013 until now he did nothing to address this issue. You’re saying it was a clerical error. OK. In six years, this young man didn’t take any steps to ensure his right to vote,” Carmon said.
“Voting is extremely precious to me for all the reasons you spoke about,” Carmon continued. “And for someone to sit callously in this seat, be disrespectful during this hearing, and say because of a clerical error he can now just walk in and register and declare for a seat, and we’re supposed to overlook those issues—I haven’t heard anything other than it’s been the staff’s fault. He said he went to vote and the poll was closed. He later said he looked down at his phone and saw the hours. Part of this is his responsibility, and I see no acceptance of responsibility here.”
The board unanimously denied D’Abrosca’s appeal.
“Unfortunately, running for office can be complicated,” D’Abrosca wrote on Twitter last night.
He continued, “I failed, in essence, to stamp the right form at the right time in order to be on the primary ballot. My legal battle with the State Board of Elections fell on deaf ears. The only available recourse now is time and cost prohibitive, as the State is already printing ballots.”
Right Wing Watch asked D’Abrosca via direct message on Twitter what he planned to do with the money he raised for his campaign and what his next career move would be, but he declined to answer.
(Update 4:19pm): This article has been updated to reflect that War Room denies it ever employed D’Abrosca.