The race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District features a crowded field of Republicans, including one candidate the state GOP says is a Democrat in thin disguise.
This is not Chris Anglin's first run as a Republican. The Raleigh attorney used a loophole in GOP-backed legislation and switched his party affiliation, re-registering with the Republican party, to run for the state Supreme Court.
"He partnered with Democrats in a sneaky, dirty way to fool the electorate," said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.
Woodhouse said Anglin's candidacy was meant to siphon votes in the 2018 midterm elections from another Republican candidate: incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson. Jackson ended up losing to Democrat Anita Earls.
But Woodhouse said just because Anglin has an "R" next to his name on a ballot, doesn't mean the state GOP has to treat him like a member of the party.
"That doesn't require us to do anything other than, morally, to call out the fraud that he is," Woodhouse said, in a telephone interview.
But Anglin insisted that he's a Republican running a genuine campaign.
"I don't think that Donald Trump lives up to the traditional conservative Republican values, which the party has historically been known for," said Anglin, citing fiscal responsibility and respect for the Constitution as two examples.
And Anglin said the nature of this race proves he's on the level.
"This is a primary, this is not a general election, so there's no argument that I will be taking away votes from another Republican candidate," Anglin said.
The State Board of Elections ordered a new election in the 9th due to alleged vote tampering by a campaign operative working for Republican Mark Harris.
A board investigation found the operative illegally collected absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties.
The do-over undid Harris's narrow November victory over Democrat Dan McCready.
Dallas Woodhouse said that if Anglin was a Democrat in disguise trying to sabotage the GOP's chances in the new 9th district race, the plan will backfire.
"Those voters think a congressional race they won was stolen from them," Woodhouse said. "You can disagree with them but that's what they think and they are the voters, in a Republican district. And Chris Anglin going in trying to make a mockery of our party is just going to incense Republicans more."
Woodhouse said the state GOP is a private organization with no legal obligation to provide Anglin with any material support.
Anglin said he won't hesitate to sue the party if necessary.