‘Run ev­ery­thing over,’ House Dem Cly­burn says of NC race

The Tribune (SLO) - - News - BY EMMA DUMAIN, PAUL A. SPECHT, BRIAN MUR­PHY AND TIM FUNK

WASH­ING­TON

The high­est-rank­ing black mem­ber of Congress called for an en­tirely new elec­tion in North Carolina’s 9th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, a sign of grow­ing mo­men­tum for ma­jor ac­tion amid nu­mer­ous re­ports of elec­tion fraud in the dis­trict.

Rep. Jim Cly­burn, a South Carolina Demo­crat and the in­com­ing House ma­jor­ity whip, has made fair elec­tions a cen­tral piece of his leg­isla­tive ca­reer. He was un­equiv­o­cal in what he thought should hap­pen next in the race be­tween Re­pub­li­can Mark Har­ris and Demo­crat Dan McCready, which North Carolina’s state board of elec­tions has de­clined to cer­tify due to vot­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties among mail-in ab­sen­tee bal­lots in Bladen and Robe­son coun­ties.

“North Carolina ought to run ev­ery­thing over,” Cly­burn told Mc­Clatchy on Thurs­day. That in­cludes a new pri­mary with in­cum­bent Re­pub­li­can Rep. Robert Pit­tenger. “Pit­tenger ought to be on the bal­lot.”

Har­ris had de­feated Pit­tenger in the GOP pri­mar, a race that also has drawn scru­tiny over mail-in ab­sen­tee vote to­tals in ru­ral Bladen County.

Cly­burn said he is “ab­so­lutely” op­posed to seat- ing Har­ris on Jan. 3, when Congress con­venes.

“I’m not too sure we ought not to sub­poena (him), Cly­burn said of Har­ris. “We need to find out whether or not Har­ris was in­volved in these dis­cus­sions, and if he was, he ought to be dis­qual­i­fied as a can­di­date. So it’s not just about hav­ing a new elec­tion. We need to look at whether this man ought to be stand­ing for elec­tion in the first place.”

On Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports, McCready told tele­vi­sion sta­tion WSOC that he was with­draw­ing his con­ces­sion and ac­cused Har­ris of bankrolling “crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.”

The North Carolina Elec­tions Board has sub­poe­naed the Har­ris cam­paign and Red Dome Group, a con­sult­ing firm that worked for Har­ris. Red Dome Group said it hired McCrae Dow­less, who is un­der sus­pi­cion for al­legedly gath­er­ing mail-in ab­sen­tee bal­lots.

Cly­burn’s com­ments came af­ter Demo­cratic leader Nancy Pelosi, the ex­pected in­com­ing speaker of the House, said a House com­mit­tee could look into the elec­tion.

Cly­burn, the son of a min­is­ter, ques­tioned Har­ris’s in­tegrity. Har­ris is the for­mer pas­tor at Char­lotte’s First Bap­tist Church.

“This guy is sup­posed to be a min­is­ter,” Cly­burn said. “I don’t un­der­stand — evan­gel­i­cals or who­ever he may be — how they can ad­vo­cate the way they do on moral grounds.”

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