Commentary

New election all but inevitable now in the 9th District

It’s increasingly clear that the November election results in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District cannot and will not stand. It was one thing when state officials were starting to raise questions about the outcome, but now that the issue has gone national, there is no way of putting the genie back in the bottle. Yesterday, one of the most powerful men in the incoming House of Representatives, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, made it clear that a new election must occur. This is from McClatchy reporters:

Clyburn said he “absolutely” opposed 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 this first place.”

Meanwhile, supposedly defeated candidate Dan McCready, who rescinded his concession yesterday, had the following conversation with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow:

MADDOW: At the moment, there is a lot of different ways to approach it.  It seems to me from the outside like bottom line, what happened here is that this is a professional operator.  There is a specific operator who works in Bladen County and maybe a couple of other counties in your congressional district who has made it his life’s work, who has made it his work for a number of election cycles now that for hire, he’ll stuff the ballot box.  He’ll rig the absentee ballot system and make sure that your opponents’ ballots never make into it the ballot box, and to make sure that a lot of suspiciously high number of ballots for you do get in there.  It seems like this was sort of voter fraud for hire.  Is that how you see it?

MCCREADY:  You know, I think it’s even worse, Rachel.  He’s not just an operator.  He is a criminal.  He’s a felon.  /// It’s  is amazing that my opponent Mark Harris went out and hired a convicted felon who was under investigation for absentee ballot fraud, to do his absentee ballot program.  And apparently he got what he paid for because Mark Harris didn’t just hire this felon, he actually recommended his services to other.”

Add to all of this the fact that national polling guru Nate Silver waggishly altered his assessment of the 9th from “leans Republican” to “leans prison” and that even GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse has all but conceded the necessity of a do-over, and it’s impossible to see how Harris could ever be seated. The real question at this point is, when there is a new election, will Woodhouse and other GOP leaders demand that Harris step aside and allow another candidate to emerge?

Right now, it’s hard to see how Harris remains viable.

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