CHARLOTTE – We won’t know what is in store next for the 9th District Saga until a new State Board of Elections goes into effect on January 31. Republican candidate Mark Harris was denied a court-ordered certification of his victory earlier this week when the judge announced that certification was within the jurisdiction of the State Board and he would have to wait for the investigation into possible election fraud to reach a conclusion.
Either the Board will find that there was not sufficient evidence of enough fraudulent absentee ballots to change the result of the race (Harris won by 905 votes); or, if the provable fraud sufficiently taints the result, they will call for a new election.
If the latter comes to pass, then Democratic candidate Dan McCready will have a head start in terms of campaign funds.
From the Charlotte Observer:
“Since mid-December, Democrat Dan McCready has raised $500,000 toward a new election in the 9th Congressional District, his campaign announced Friday.[…]
McCready began actively fundraising in December. Three announced Democratic presidential candidates — Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand — made fundraising appeals on his behalf.[…]”
In the case of a new election, this fundraising haul puts McCready at a considerable advantage over Harris, who, according to his campaign, has been focusing on confirming his election day win rather than actively campaigning.
“Jason Williams, Harris’ campaign manager, said Harris is “not in an active campaign.”
“Mark Harris is the Congressman-elect, and since his election on November 6, he has been working tirelessly preparing to represent the citizens of the 9th District,” Williams said in a statement. He said Harris has been assembling a staff, organizing district offices and “actively speaking with elected officials and community leaders throughout the district about issues that they need help with.””
When it reconstitutes on January 31, the new State Board of Elections will be under the biggest spotlight it has ever faced. Democrats and Republicans have submitted names for appointment to the board, including some familiar faces and some new ones, but notably absent of former embattled chairman Democrat Joshua Malcolm.
Will Harris’ work to establish the structure needed to represent the 9th District in Washington,D.C. prove prescient? Or, will he find himself back on his heels as McCready readily opens the floodgates for another campaign?
Read More from the Charlotte Observer here.