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Politics

GOP Says Mark Harris Should Be Declared Winner, Says Democrats Are 'Stalling'

Republican Mark Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th congressional district.
Alex Olgin
/
WFAE
File: Mark Harris on the night of the November election, when unofficial results showed him leading Democrat Dan McCready

The North Carolina Republican Party held a news conference Tuesday, where they accused the former Democratic chairman of the N.C. Board of Elections of "potential collusion" with a Democrat in Bladen County.

Republicans said Mark Harris should be certified as the winner in the 9th Congressional District race, where he is currently leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.

Scott Stone, a former Republican state house member from Charlotte, attended the event at the SouthPark Marriott.

“They have not demonstrated anything yet that would show that any issues — whether it was in Bladen County or elsewhere — would have changed the outcome of the election," Stone said in an interview with WFAE.

The state elections board is investigating whether a political operative working for the Harris campaign committed absentee mail vote fraud.

The GOP's presentation Tuesday was titled "From Everything to Nothing."

Party chairman Robin Hayes said there is no evidence that any irregularities would have changed the outcome of the race. His presentation also questioned whether Democrat Joshua Malcolm, the former board chair who made public allegations of fraud in Bladen County, is impartial.

They said Malcolm dismissed Republican claims of fraud in Bladen County from a Democratic group in 2016, and they said his contact by phone with a Democratic member of the Bladen Board of Elections shows what they said was “potential collusion.” WBTV reported the two men communicated before the November election.

The GOP did not give any evidence to show the two men were colluding, however.

Malcolm couldn’t be reached for comment.

"Overall it just feels like the board of elections and the Democrats are stalling and dragging their feet on this," Stone said. "There just isn’t any sense of urgency on this to get this resolved.”

The first vote to not certify the race in November was unanimous, with all four Republicans voting against declaring Harris the winner. The second vote not to certify was 7-2, with two Republicans joining Democrats.

The Harris campaign has filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court demanding that the state name the Republican the winner immediately.

On Monday, Board of Elections staff said in a legal brief that it can’t do that now – even if it wanted to. It said only an appointed board of elections can certify an election, and there won’t be a board until Jan. 31. The filing said Executive Director Kim Strach doesn’t have the authority to declare anyone the winner in the race.