Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | Voting Rights | north carolina | mark harris | special election | vote harvesting

NC-9 Special Election Almost Guaranteed in '19

north carolina democratic house candidate dan mccready looks to his right and smiles wide
Democrat Dan McCready will likely get a second chance at winning the North Carolina's 9th Congressional District in August. (Jeff Siner/AP)

Monday, 10 December 2018 03:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Roughly three weeks before the 116th Congress is sworn in Jan. 3, it is virtually a foregone conclusion the Democratic-controlled House will not seat Republican Mark Harris as U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 9th District (Charlotte).

Although conservative clergyman Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the count Nov. 8, mounting evidence of illegal "vote harvesting" of absentee ballots by Harris supporters has thrown the final outcome of the race in doubt. 

The scenario of the first special election for Congress since the midterm elections is sure to attract national press. Moreover, it also raises the prospect of a comeback attempt by outgoing Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., who lost the May primary to Harris by a small margin.

"It looks increasingly clear Mark Harris will not be seated the next session of Congress, and that we will have a special election in North Carolina's Congressional District 9 with a primary sometime in the spring and election in August," Marc Rotterman, veteran North Carolina political analyst, told Newsmax on Monday.

An ongoing investigation has so far produced growing evidence at least three paid Harris campaign workers collected absentee ballots from voters and turned them over to a political consultant employed by Harris.

This practice of collecting ballots, known as "vote-harvesting," is against the law in North Carolina. In each case, the workers who admitted the practice said they were paid by a mysterious local figure named Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr. — a convicted felon who was also a paid contractor for the Harris campaign.

Under state election law, the declaration of a vacancy in the 9th District would permit Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to set new dates for primaries and a special election.

Most Tarheel State Republicans believe Pittenger, a two-term lawmaker and strong conservative, would jump in the race. The congressman and his supporters have long voiced doubts about his defeat by Harris in the GOP primary this year, with many of them claiming  Harris engaged in the same "vote harvesting" practice for which he is now under fire in the general election.

A spokesman for Pittenger told Newsmax the scenario of his running in a yet-to-be-called special election "has not been discussed at all."

For his part, the embattled Harris has said he is cooperating with the investigation and would go along with a special election if it is called.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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It is virtually a foregone conclusion the Democratic-controlled House will not seat Republican Mark Harris as U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 9th District (Charlotte), setting the stage for a potential special election in August, Newsmax's John Gizzi reports.
north carolina, mark harris, special election, vote harvesting
Monday, 10 December 2018 03:37 PM
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