SPOTLIGHT | NC-9

The Unresolved Election

The call for a new race in North Carolina's 9th District means the end is in sight for filling the vacant seat.

Democratic congressional candidate Dan McCready, center, applauds as he listens during a Habitat For Humanity building event in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. McCready is running against Republican Mark Harris for the 9th Congressional District.
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Kyle Trygstad
Feb. 22, 2019, 9:22 a.m.

The conclusion Thursday of some of the most stunning political theater in recent memory sets in motion a new election to fill the last uncalled race of the midterms.

Democrat Dan McCready, who as an Iraq War veteran and solar energy executive was a highly regarded recruit, will get another shot at North Carolina’s 9th District, which became an open-seat race in May when pastor Mark Harris defeated then-Rep. Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary.

While McCready has been raising money and preparing for a new race for weeks, Harris, whose alleged absentee ballot scheme was the focus of the state elections board investigation, has known all along that his best and perhaps only realistic chance of getting elected was to have the board certify the November result. Republicans have to hope after this sensational scandal that the primary and potential runoff produces a credible nominee capable of holding a district both President Trump and Mitt Romney carried by 12 points.

Seats have remained vacant for far longer than this—Al Franken wasn't sworn in to the Senate until July 7, 2009, eight months after Election Day, following a protracted court battle over ballots. And results have been contested since the 1st Congress—the House Committee on Elections was created and tackled its first case in April 1789, over a question of citizenship.

-- Kyle Trygstad

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