Mark Harris, Dallas, Governor Cooper discussed on Here & Now
And now as new lawmakers are sworn into congress tomorrow the seat representing North Carolina's ninth district will be empty because of evidence of vote tampering scheme in the midterm race for that seat. Democrats are taking over the leadership in the house and say they won't seat the Republican candidate Mark Harris who got nine hundred more votes than his democratic opponent, Dan, McCreevy because of the scandal over how some of those votes were collected. Meanwhile, the state election board charged with investigating the scandal has been ordered by a panel of judges to dissolve because of a case having nothing to do with the scandal. Few rusty Jacobs politics reporter for WNYC is in Chapel Hill, high rusty. Hi, Robyn, and we've talked about this scandal allegations from voters that nice lady came to their house and said she'd fill out their absentee ballots that lady is the stepdaughter of Leslie McRae. Dallas a political contractor working for Harris, the Republican do we know how far the board got in the investigation did. Candidate harris. No, for instance. Well, congressman candidate Mark Harris says he didn't know there were any improprieties. He has said that he did. In fact, higher Dallas that he was steered towards Dallas by state and county Republicans who claimed that Dallas was very effective at getting in harvesting Republican or I should say harvesting absentee ballots in helping with that effort Harris lost a primary in two thousand sixteen to a candidate who got most of the absentee ballots in bladen county in his favor working with McRae, Dallas. So he he knew that the Dallas was effective at helping with absentee ballots. He says he did not know that he was engaged in any kind of impropriety side. And so this board that had been investigating. I'm presuming we don't know what conclusions. They met may have come to write. And now they've been ordered to dissolve because of another case, correct. So without without making this too convoluted back in two thousand. Sixteen just before democrat governor ROY Cooper took office. The Republican controlled legislature rewrote, the law governing the ethics board and the elections board. And they rewrote it to that. They had more power on appointing members to that board governor Cooper challenge that in court last October, a three judge panel in Wake County determined that the makeup of the board was in fact, unconstitutional and would have to be dissolved. They they stayed that ruling giving the board time to complete its investigation after the board delayed the hearing that we're expecting on January eleventh about the improprieties in the congressional district. The ninth congressional district. They decided that it was time to dissolve the board. We are now without aboard. We are not without a staff though, investigators legal counsel who are still continuing to look into possible improprieties. But are we without hearing? Because as you said it was scheduled for the eleventh, all I can tell you is the spokesman for the North Carolina. The state elections board has said that the staff continues. To work as if there will be hearing on the eleventh. But certainly there cannot be determination. Whether there is enough evidence to warrant new election without aboard in place. I will tell you the governor Cooper is standing by his or his staff's legal analysis that what should happen is the law should revert to a twenty fifteen law that predates the unconstitutional law. That says there will be a five member board made up of appointees by the governor. He is trying to get that in place in time for this January eleventh Aletsch January eleventh hearing, right, but if there is a new election state law requires it there has to be a new primary as well. So is it possible that Republicans could decide to replace Mark Harris with an entirely new candidate? It's certainly possible. And and there are people out there who will say that state Republicans have determined that Mark Harris, whether he did no we're not. It's just too toxic. That being said a high profile Republicans Robert pittenger, the current incumbent who who lost the primary to Mark Harris. This go round says he. Will not run. Again. Pat, Mkhori former governor has his own talk radio program in Charlotte says he will not run again. I tell you when you said rusty a few seconds ago, not to get too convoluted. I'm sure a lot of listeners yelled out too late because this is so complicated. It doesn't change the balance in the house because the Democrats, you know, have taken over the leadership. Oh, what's it doing the people there in the ninth district as you? Is a cloud of uncertainty as as pea soup. I'm really fit for the people live in that district. Everybody in that district and people outside the district. You're saying look this has been going on for years. One of the interesting things to come out of this investigation is that the state elections board staff the executive director in two thousand seventeen reached out to the US attorney's office the eastern district saying we've heard about improprieties in Laden county. Just we're all this is supposedly taking place in the two thousand sixteen electric think it should be looked into. Nobody did anything about it. So a lot of people are saying these are problems they should have been solved a long time ago. WNYC's rusty Jacobs. Thank you. You're welcome. You. There are those who love music.