RALEIGH – Not content to wait for a new State Board of Elections to reconstitute, filled with members handpicked by Gov. Roy Cooper, and conclude their investigation of 9th District fraud allegations that were used to justify not certifying the election, Republican candidate Mark Harris took the issue to court. Tuesday marks the first hearing in Raleigh, at which Harris’s attorneys will ask the judge to intervene and certify the election results.
Those results should stand, Harris argues, regardless of the fraud allegations because the effected votes would not reach a number high enough to change the outcome.
Harris himself will not be at the hearing because he is suffering from a minor illness, not an uncommon thing this time of year. His attorneys will be, though, and the rest of the NCGOP is pledging to see this through until the race is certified.
“We wish @MarkHarrisNC9 a speedy recovery from this minor health issue. We hate that he is unable to travel to Raleigh, but we want to see him get better before going to Congress soon! The team is fully ready to push for certification tomorrow.” – @ChairmanHayes #ncpol #nc09
— NCGOP (@NCGOP) January 22, 2019
“Ahead of Tuesday’s court hearing, state Republican and Democratic party leaders made their case at news conferences in Raleigh aimed at winning over the court of public opinion.
“Hopefully (the judge will) certify this race,” said NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse “Mark Harris got more legal votes.”
A few blocks down Hillsborough Street, Democrats at state party headquarters had a much different take on the case.
“This is nothing more than a second attempt to steal this election,” said NC Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin.”
Looks like Goodwin is back from his insurance conference 2020 Insurance Commissioner campaign in time to issue the talking points for the N.C. Democratic Party.
The case all hinges on the interpretation of statues related to the certification of elections. The majority of provisions addressing the issue would require there to have been enough votes in question as to change the result of the race. That would be a hard threshold to satisfy for Democrats considering the lack of conclusive evidence regarding fraudulent activities in Bladen County, specifically.
Another provision, however, will prove more difficult for Harris to overcome because it is much more vague. It essentially says that if the appearance of fraud or irregularities incite a general sense of unfairness that “taints” the result, then certification can be withheld and a new election called.
We know the Democrat-friendly media has done there best to taint the results of the election by feverishly covering and amplifying the allegations of absentee ballot fraud. Not to say the allegations were not a story worthy of coverage, just that pumping the issue to maximum volume may have tainted the result more than was/is warranted.
As such, this judge has the unenviable task of deciding if the race should be certified, or if it should be left to the Cooper’s partisan Board of Elections to decide. That Board has already proven to be overly partisan and horribly opaque when it comes to the investigation, with one chair having to resign for hyper-partisan statements, and his replacement getting caught secretly communicating with a target of the investigation.
If the judge does move to certify the race, it should finally close the 9th District Saga. The judge indicated Tuesday morning that he could make a ruling as early as Tuesday afternoon.
You can watch the proceedings live here.