RALEIGH – After enduring an extremely drawn out investigation into fraud allegations Republican 9th Congressional District Mark Harris, citing his health, is bowing of the special election called by the State Board of Elections.
The NCGOP responded to the news with well wishes for Harris, and then teasing the other Republican candidates indicating interest in making a run. Chairman Robin Hayes spent the rest of the message questioning the veracity of the investigation and hammering the Board of Elections for their decision to call a special election when the provable fraud numbers didn’t approach such a threshold.
“We continue to be concerned that there is little interest determining how many votes were affected. The long-standing legal precedent on these issues has been to make an effort to protect legitimate votes cast in elections. No election is perfect, but lowering the standard for new elections may have significant consequences on our politics and electoral system in the future. Make no mistake, the Party supports all criminal prosecutions of those who acted with intent to violate laws. This includes the behaviors exposed during the hearing and the other groups that deserve a full investigation like the North Carolina Democrat Party-funded Bladen County Improvement Association PAC.” – NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes
The Bladen County Improvement Association did indeed get a pass. In fact, they may have gotten protection from Democrats in the know in the form of early warnings about the look into ballot harvesting schemes the PAC has employed expertly for years.
Even so, attention will now turn to the new field of candidates. Former Congressman for the 9th District, Robert Pittenger, has said he is not running. Conservative voters won’t likely be upset the liberal Republican is staying out.
Two other Republicans, a Mecklenburg County Commissioner and a State Senator.
Former State Senator Tommy Tucker tells AP he is 95 percent sure he will run for the seat. Last week, former #MeckBOCC commissioner Matthew Ridenhour told me he is also strongly considering running #NC09 #ncpol @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/OYSYWRX7sB
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) February 26, 2019
The board decides the dates of the election, but they are waiting on Governor Roy Cooper to announce dates for the Third District special election to fill the late Rep. Walter Jones’ vacant seat. A May primary has been suggested. Board officials say it makes sense to have the elections on the same date.