‘Holding a Congressional election hostage is not the appropriate way to resolve longstanding issues…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) From the very outset of his 2018 campaign, rightfully elected Congressman Mark Harris, the Republican victor in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, has been a marked man.
For the GOP, Harris represents a true conservative, able to reconcile staunch support for the Trumpian political ethos with traditional Biblical values stemming from his work as a Baptist pastor in Charlotte.
For Democrats, however, Harris signifies a test of whether the millions of dollars and countless man-hours invested into fighting state legislatures in courts over redistricting (at cost both to their special-interest benefactors and to the taxpayers burdened with defending the spurious suits) have been worthwhile.
On Tuesday, as the polls closed in Mississippi on what was believed to be the last hotly contested election of the 2018 season, North Carolina’s Board of Elections voted not to certify Harris’s narrowly won race (by a margin of 905 votes) against Democrat Dan McCready.
Narrator: but then, he read about the #NC09 https://t.co/0usYDqYodF
— Michael Bitzer (@BowTiePolitics) November 28, 2018
At the behest of Democratic NCSBE member Joshua Malcolm, the nine-member board—presumed to be evenly split along political lines—decided unanimously, following a two-hour closed session, to delay certification until at least Friday over what was supposed to be a routine, procedural vote.
Although the issue is believed to relate to voter fraud concerns, members would not elaborate specifically on the reasoning, except for Malcolm’s attributing it to “unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state.”
NCBSE #NC09 results were not certified citing G.S. 163A-1180
That statute gives the Board to “take any other action necessary to assure that an election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election” pic.twitter.com/EZsTbyG4KS
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) November 27, 2018
The surprise turnabout, and the mystery that enshrouds it, open the door to many questions in one of the bellwether races representing Democrats’ use of political shenanigans and activist court rulings to disfranchise legal voters and coerce Republicans into ceding power.
In an editorial, the Charlotte Observer called on Malcolm to come clean immediately and clarify whether the issue was one directly related to a specific instance of alleged voter fraud or simply an effort to draw attention to a more nondescript complaint.
“If that’s the case, mission accomplished. Now stop it,” wrote the paper. “Holding a Congressional election hostage is not the appropriate way to resolve longstanding issues, regardless of how serious he believes they might be.”
Alluding to earlier electoral challenges in states like Florida and Georgia—where Democrats had pushed to count ballots that continued to surface for days after the elections had been called—the Observer, characteristically, belittled the Republican concerns but nonetheless acknowledged the severity of the issue.
“We’re in a fragile period regarding elections in this country,” it said. “We have a president too ready to declare—even just this week—that results he doesn’t like are tainted. It’s become too common for members of both parties to question the legitimacy of outcomes they don’t like.”
But in North Carolina’s 9th District and others like it, Harris and his supporters have every reason to be suspicious after courts, crying “racism,” denied the state legislature its right to redraw Congressional districts following the 2010 Census.
Harris’ district, encircling the more affluent suburbs south and west of Charlotte, was, without question, irregularly shaped. Nonetheless, the high-profile “gerrymandering” attacks—a convenient scapegoat for Democrats to account for their political failures and substantial losses during the Obama era—were controversial since Democrats, who were selectively targeting red states and regions, had also benefited from the practice on many occasions.
In February 2016, Democrats, led by high-powered Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias successfully forced a court-ordered redraw of North Carolina’s districts, part of a brazen, nationwide effort to retake Congress.
Liberal judge Roger Gregory wrote in the North Carolina ruling, “There is strong evidence that race was the only nonnegotiable criterion and that traditional redistricting principles were subordinated to race.”
Following a protracted legal battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, only to be punted back down to the lower courts, the Left-friendly districts stood.
Even so, on the night of the election, despite the considerable fundraising advantage from outside money being directed at Democrat Dan McCready, Harris emerged the winner, and McCready conceded the election.
The surprise move from the state elections board to delay certification resulted in a heated Twitter exchange between North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and NCSBE Chairman Andy Penry, a Democrat.
You don’t know what you’re talking about Dallas.
— Andy Penry (@andy_penry) November 27, 2018
Wake County’s Republicans subsequently issued a formal ethics complaint against Penry, citing the lack of decorum in his partisan social media missives.
Harris, for his part, issued through his campaign attorneys a letter asking to be apprised of the specific charges and their potential impact on the race.
In a statement to local ABC affiliate WSOC, he said, “We were surprised by yesterday’s developments at the State Board of Elections, but our legal team is fully engaged. We trust the process.”
Harris went on to reassure voters, “We continue to prepare in DC to serve the constituents of the 9th District!”