As new Congress sworn in, election in North Carolina's 9th district is still under investigation

As members of the House of Representatives celebrated their swearings-in and the start of a new Congress, on...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 7:05 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 7:05 AM

As members of the House of Representatives celebrated their swearings-in and the start of a new Congress, one district in North Carolina was left unrepresented, and Republican Mark Harris, the man who'd thought he'd be serving it, wasn't taking part in the pomp and photo ops.

Instead, Harris was home in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, asking a judge to certify the results of the unsettled election and meeting with investigators who are looking into potential election fraud in the race.

After the state's board of elections dissolved last week as part of an ongoing legal battle over its composition and the state was unable to seat a new board, Harris' legal team said it had no choice but to go to court.

"We kind of find ourselves in no man's land, and we have asked the court to step in," Harris told reporters after leaving the nearly two-hour interview with investigators.

Harris argued in his petition to the court that the board of elections is legally required to certify the election results.

"No registered voter in the 9th District has filed an election protest, and Mr. McCready has not asked for a recount," Harris' legal team wrote. "Therefore, the State Board has the 'clear duty to' authenticate and certify election results."

Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in unofficial tallies, but the state board had repeatedly refused to certify the results, instead spending more than a month investigating accusations that an operative, McCrae Dowless, working for a firm hired by Harris was involved in illegal absentee ballot collection schemes.

Harris committed to continuing to cooperate with the investigation but suggested he should be seated in Congress while the process plays out.

A date for the hearing could come next week, a court official said Thursday, but briefs in the case won't be due until January 14.

"We don't believe that the number of ballots in question would change the outcome of this election," Harris said.

Jason Williams, campaign manager for Harris, told CNN, "Despite rumors and affidavits filed by Democrats, there is absolutely no evidence that any ballots were destroyed."

Williams also argued "there are simply not enough ballots in question to alter the results of the election," but because the investigation is still ongoing, it's too early to say how many ballots might have been affected by the alleged scheme. Investigators have said they are looking into why 1,680 absentee ballots were requested but not cast in Bladen and Robeson counties, an unusually high number.

Williams reiterated, as Harris has in recent interviews, that while he and Harris sought out the operative in question to conduct their absentee ballot operation in Bladen County, Dowless was insistent that he followed the letter of the law, and did not "harvest" or alter ballots, as has been suggested.

Dowless' attorney, Cynthia Adams Singletary, released a statement last month saying he "has not violated any State or Federal campaign laws and current ongoing investigations will prove the same."

"All speculation is premature and wholly unwarranted," she wrote.

McCready responded to Harris' comments in a series of tweets, accusing him of obstructing the investigation.

"The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. It's a right that countless Americans have fought and died for, here and overseas. But every step of the way, Harris treats our sacred right to vote as an inconvenience, just an obstacle between him and a seat of power," McCready wrote.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 69°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather