Will Republicans abandon their candidate in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District?

North Carolina Republicans said Tuesday that a new election would be necessary in the state's 9th Congressio...

Posted: Dec 13, 2018 11:34 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 11:34 AM

North Carolina Republicans said Tuesday that a new election would be necessary in the state's 9th Congressional District if investigators can verify a local newspaper report that early voting results in Bladen County were leaked before Election Day.

Republican Mark Harris appeared to emerge as the narrow winner over Democrat Dan McCready on Election Day but subsequent revelations of fraud surrounding absentee ballots in two counties have Democrats and Republicans, who also might have seen their primary marred by similar irregularities, openly discussing the prospect of launching a second vote.

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Mark Harris

McCrae Dowless

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Voters and voting

Here's a look at where things currently stand.

GOP candidate Mark Harris

We haven't heard much from Harris. The GOP candidate has released only one pre-recorded statement since the revelations related to McCrae Dowless, the political operative paid by his campaign, were revealed. The situation has become increasingly difficult for North Carolina Republicans, and they know it. While no prominent Republican in North Carolina have publicly distanced themselves from Harris, behind the scenes it is a different story. The party would at least like the option of replacing Harris if a new election is necessary. That is one of the reasons that the GOP-controlled State Legislature added language in a broader bill on elections that included a provision that would require a new primary in the event a second election is necessary. While the GOP can make plans for a post- Harris world, make no mistake it is Harris and Harris alone that controls his destiny. If he wants to stay in the race he can. Despite GOPers quietly grumbling about how he could sink their chances of holding the seat, he has shown no signs of going anywhere.

Harris and Dowless ties continue to emerge

The main reason Republicans are in a tight spot is because with each passing day it is becoming more difficult for Harris to reasonably make the argument that he had absolutely no knowledge of the Dowless operation. An associate of Dowless, Jeffery Smith, told CNN that he personally witnessed Dowless and Harris meeting in a satellite campaign office in Bladen County. Smith also said that Dowless told him he met with Harris on a regular basis. Harris has yet to change his position that he did not know anything about what Dowless was up to. If evidence continues to emerge that directly contradicts that claim it will make it that much more difficult for Harris to win a second election.

If a new election happens, when will it happen?

The short answer is -- it could be a while. On Wednesday, the State Board of Elections sent a letter to the 10th Judicial District Court overseeing a stay that keeps the board in its current form while it investigates the claims in the 9th Congressional District. Lawmakers in North Carolina are in the process of overhauling the board's make-up, but the court has extended their current composition through at least December 28. In this new letter, the board chairman Joshua Malcom writes the "disputes and uncertainty about the board's clear authority between December 28 and January 31 will substantially disrupt our efforts." Malcom asks the three-judge panel to allow them to continue their work until they make a final determination on how to handle the situation in the 9th District. That shows us they have a lot more work to do and that the work may not be done before Christmas and could extend into the New Year. While both Republicans and Democrats seem convinced a new election is necessary, it is the board that will make the final call, and they seem to need a lot more time to make that determination.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30674

Reported Deaths: 1107
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds248039
DeSoto157216
Madison129634
Jones112049
Neshoba98571
Rankin91612
Lauderdale90879
Harrison88610
Forrest86042
Scott77015
Jackson61616
Copiah60216
Washington5789
Leake57519
Holmes55141
Lee54718
Wayne54213
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51118
Yazoo5056
Leflore48651
Lowndes48312
Grenada4795
Lamar4567
Lincoln45434
Pike43112
Monroe39930
Lafayette3894
Sunflower3737
Attala35923
Covington3475
Panola3456
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Adams31018
Simpson3103
Pontotoc2836
Tate27810
Chickasaw27618
Marion27511
Claiborne27010
Jasper2616
Noxubee2618
Winston2596
Pearl River25432
Clay24910
Marshall2263
Smith22011
Union2079
Clarke20624
Walthall2004
Coahoma1996
Kemper17814
Lawrence1741
Yalobusha1717
Carroll16411
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1312
Tippah13011
Calhoun1294
Hancock12613
Webster12510
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite892
George863
Tishomingo781
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn682
Perry664
Stone641
Franklin452
Sharkey350
Benton340
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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