A W A K E N

North Carolina Democrat withdraws concession as Republicans fight election fraud investigation

Ninth Congressional district Democratic candidate Dan McCready smiles as he speaks with U.S. Rep. Alma Adams outside Eastover Elementary School in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. . McCready, handily defeated 2016 party nominee Christian Cano in Tuesday's Democratic primary. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

Dan McCready

North Carolina Democrat Dan McCready has withdrawn his concession in the House race at the center of an election fraud investigation, saying that “Over the last week, we have seen the criminal activity come to light, and we have seen that my opponent, Mark Harris, has bankrolled this criminal activity. And so, as of today, I am withdrawing my concession to Mark Harris.” Harris leads by 905 votes, but a large number of absentee ballots may have been tampered with, whether by having been collected and filled out by a Republican operative or by having been disappeared. And not only did he bankroll the effort, but he still owes more than $30,000 for it!

House Democratic leadership has also indicated that it’s watching the investigation and might refuse to seat Harris if North Carolina ultimately certifies him as the winner without getting satisfactory answers. Incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said as much, while speaker-nominee Nancy Pelosi notes that “the House still retains the right to determine who is seated.” 

North Carolina Republicans have predictably fallen back on the strategy that the best defense is a good offense, calling for an end to the investigation now being carried out by the state elections board and accusing Democrats of the same type of fraud. Republicans are assailing the competence and integrity of the state elections board, a board whose composition they altered to deny Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper the power that had traditionally gone to governors. Having set up this board, though, now that it’s doing something they don’t like, they’re against it too. Republicans say they want a new task force, which everything we know about North Carolina Republicans tells us would be a set-up for the result they wanted. 

“Now, as the evidence of wrongdoing becomes overwhelming and mounts day by day, Republicans no longer want this board to investigate,” [North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne] Goodwin said. “Very curious.”

It’s looking an awful lot like North Carolina Republicans outside of Bladen County have reason to be concerned about what a full investigation might find. And Mark Harris, the guy whose campaign was paying absentee ballot “expert” Leslie McCrae Dowless this time around, should definitely be among those worried.

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