North Carolina GOP appears resigned to having a re-run election in 9th District

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

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NC-09: Events in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District continue to unfold swiftly regarding Republican Mark Harris and the alleged electoral fraud carried out on behalf of his campaign. An important question mark at the center of the matter has at last been resolved, as the state’s Republican-led legislature passed a bill with veto-proof bipartisan support that will finally let Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper appoint majorities on the state and county elections boards after courts repeatedly struck down the GOP’s efforts to stop him from doing so.

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The state board is currently investigating the fraud allegations, but in its current configuration, which had been ruled unconstitutional, it had been on borrowed time. Now, following the extension of a court order, the existing state board will remain in place until Dec. 28 or until it certifies the results in the 9th District, whichever comes first. Thanks to this new legislation, once the board is disbanded, it’ll be reconstituted under Cooper’s auspices, with Democrats in control. However, the current chair has asked that the court leave the existing board in place until they complete their investigation.

But whether the current board or its next iteration acts, Republicans appear increasingly resigned to the likelihood that it may void the fraud-tainted results in the 9th District and order a new election, which is why they included a provision in their new legislation that would also require a new primary if there’s a do-over. Under existing law, the state board could only order a new general election with the same candidates because it certified the primary results long ago. (Harris allegedly benefited from similar fraud in his narrow primary win over incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger, but despite complaints from Pittenger’s staff, the state GOP and NRCC reportedly sat on them.)

Harris’ denials of knowledge of the election fraud scheme also grew less credible after a picture surfaced on Tuesday of him with McCrae Dowless, the operative who allegedly orchestrated the absentee ballot tampering, at a political event in Bladen County in March. Furthermore, former Charlotte City Council candidate Pete Givens has claimed Harris, who was his pastor, had introduced him to Dowless, contending that Harris had alluded to Dowless’ absentee ballot operations.

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