Even the most avid newshounds can be forgiven for losing focus on North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District between Mark Harris and Dan McCready.
This is the one that Harris won by 905 votes — in final, unofficial results — before it was revealed that many of his votes came from shady absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties, corralled by the even shadier political operative McCrae Dowless.
The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement refused to certify these election results — not once, but twice. Congressional Democrats have said they won’t seat Harris until questions about the election have been answered. So, when the new Congress was sworn in on Jan. 3, there was, and remains, no representative from the 9th Congressional District.
Further complicating matters, the board itself — a new entity devised by the Republican majority in Raleigh — had been declared unconstitutional by a three-judge panel in October, part of a lawsuit against GOP policies that dates back to 2016.
And while the rest of us were returning our Christmas presents on Dec. 28, the three-judge panel dissolved the current board, leaving nothing and no one to sort out the 9th District.
A new board — formed by the Republican majority over Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto — is slated to take office on Jan. 31, when they will resume investigation into the election.
But Harris couldn’t wait for that. On Tuesday, while he was home sick in Charlotte, Harris sent his lawyers to Raleigh asking a Wake County judge to compel the state to go ahead and certify the election anyway, investigation be damned.
After two hours of argument, Judge Paul Ridgeway denied the request.
But in asking a judge to subvert the electorate and supersede the authority of a federal court, Harris and his band of cronies show their open disdain for government, the electoral process and the people Harris is trying so desperately to represent.
More so, it reveals the frightening conclusion of the NC GOP power grab that began in 2010 when they took power and has resulted in a General Assembly that is unable to perform the basic functions of government.