Republican Mark Harris is implicated in widespread election fraud in North Carolina, but the state party thinks he should be rewarded with a seat in Congress anyway.
Right now, the FBI is investigating whether Republicans engaged in election fraud to try to win a House seat for Mark Harris in North Carolina. At the same time, state and local investigators are examining whether Harris personally had a hand in the fraud.
In spite of all this, both North Carolina's statewide GOP and the 9th Congressional District GOP just called on the state elections board to immediately certify the current election results, where Harris has a very slender lead. The GOP also demanded that Harris is seated when the new Congress convenes early next year.
The behavior of the state GOP party has been indefensible throughout this entire process. When it was clear that Democratic candidate Dan McCready was gaining during the vote count, Robin Hayes, GOP state chair, accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.
Then, evidence emerged that Harris likely personally directed the hiring of Leslie McCrae Dowless, a campaign worker linked to previous election fraud. Dowless, in turn, directed a scheme where he allegedly collected ballots that were incomplete and unsealed and then illegally discarded ballots.
For a brief moment, the GOP came to its senses and admitted a new election was likely necessary given the scale of the fraud and the narrowness of the margin separating Harris and McCready — a mere 905 votes. Trying to thread a difficult needle, Hayes is now saying he supports an investigation but that unless the state election board can "immediately" provide "significant public evidence" of that fraud, Harris should be seated.
This demand willfully ignores that an investigation of this scope can take time, as evinced by the fact that the elections board has already delayed a meeting over the investigation. That delay occurred because the attorneys representing people subpoenaed in the investigation have all said they need more time to produce relevant documents.
Further, it isn't as if this is an investigation that had gone quiet for some time. There's been a near-constant stream of news as more dimensions of the fraud have been uncovered.
The North Carolina GOP faces a problem entirely of its own making. The alleged fraud is attributed to both the GOP candidate, Mark Harris, and people working directly for the candidate. That behavior shouldn't be rewarded with a certified election and a seat in Congress. While the investigation continues, while the very real prospect of a new election looms, Harris should not be seated.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.