The senior Democrat on the House Administration Committee is keeping a close eye on the continuing inquiry in the hotly contested 9th Congressional District of North Carolina and has advised the state elections board to “preserve and protect” all of the material it has obtained.
The administration committee’s head, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), suggested that her panel might step in to decide “the rightful claimant to the seat” in North Carolina. After election night, Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the vote count; however, the election board later declined to certify the results, citing suspicions of election fraud against a contractor for Harris’ campaign and concerns over abnormalities with the ballots.
Lofgren also noted that a “certificate is not ultimately determinative of the House’s course of action” in a letter to the state election board that was delivered on Friday evening.
Democrats in the House are intently monitoring the events in North Carolina. As the Wake County Superior Court reviews Harris’ attempt to have the election certified in his favor, McCready and the board of elections filed briefs with the court on Monday. A hearing date has not yet been established by the court.
Until a new board is created after January 31st, the elections board has indefinitely postponed its evidentiary hearing.
In the race in North Carolina, House Democrats have few examples to draw from. If the inquiry continues, it’s not obvious if Democrats would move to have the seat declared empty.
When asked if the House Administration would wait until the results of the election were confirmed before acting, Lofgren replied, “Well, I don’t know.”
Nothing else has been done before, according to Lofgren. However, every precedent has the first instance, so we shall see.
Later, on Tuesday, Lofgren stated that she is “watching things attentively.”
She declared that the situation was unprecedented. the
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stated that if the committee chose to proclaim the seat vacant before certification was made, “it would not be unlawful.” He did, however, clarify that there aren’t any discussions about taking such action right now.
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