by Sam Hieb
A new election between Republican mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready in the disputed 9th District Congressional race would not be just, says the Charlotte Observer. There should be a complete redo–meaning another primary open to all candidates, including–you guessed it–lame-duck Rep. Robert Pittenger, whom Harris defeated in the GOP primary:
In the May 8 primary, Pittenger and Harris almost perfectly split the mail-in absentee votes across the rest of the district, 173-169. But in Bladen County, Harris won the absentee votes 437-17. That should set off deafening alarm bells.
Pittenger says he complained to Republican officials at the time, but was pretty much ignored. The Republican Party’s executive director, Dallas Woodhouse, told MSNBC that the complaints “didn’t register,” and the Washington Post reported that the party wanted to quickly coalesce behind Harris to take on the well-funded McCready.
So the results of the primary are as tainted as the results of the general election. The state board of elections plans to hold a hearing the week before Christmas and could order a new election. But here’s the catch: According to former General Assembly counsel Gerry Cohen, the state board can order only a new general election featuring the same three candidates. It cannot order a new primary because it already certified the primary’s results.
Talk about irony—9th District constituents going through all this only to end up with Robert Pittenger again.