‘Run ev­ery­thing over,’ House Dem says of NC 9th Dis­trict race

Tri-City Herald - - News - BY EMMA DUMAIN, PAUL A. SPECHT, BRIAN MUR­PHY AND TIM FUNK edu­[email protected]­clatchydc.com as­[email protected]­sob­server.com bmur­[email protected]­clatchydc.com [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

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 Repub­li­can pri­mary in May, a race that like­wise has drawn scru­tiny over mailin ab­sen­tee vote to­tals in ru­ral Bladen County.

Cly­burn said he is “ab­so­lutely” op­posed to seat­ing Harris on Jan. 3, when the new 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, a Bladen County po­lit­i­cal oper­a­tive, who is un­der sus­pi­cion for al­legedly gath­er­ing mail-in ab­sen­tee bal­lots.

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

“House Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mit­tee will have full in­ves­tiga­tive au­thor­ity to de­ter­mine the win­ner of the elec­tion,” Pelosi said. “This is big­ger than one seat. This is about un­der­min­ing the in­tegrity of our elec­tions and what was done there was so re­mark­able and that those en­ti­ties got away with it, even to the detri­ment of Repub­li­cans in the pri­mary.”

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