Thursday, 06 December 2018 22:51

McCready pulls back concession in 9th Congressional District race

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ROCKINGHAM — Democrat Dan McCready has withdrawn his concession in the 9th Congressional District race amid allegations of voting irregularities in Bladen County during last month’s election.

McCready took to Twitter Thursday afternoon to announce his decision.

“Last week we began to learn about shameful criminal activity bankrolled by my opponent to take away North Carolinians’ very rights to vote,” he said in a video. “I didn’t serve overseas in the Marine Corps just to come back home to watch politicians and career criminals attack our democracy.”

That said, McCready added that he was withdrawing his concession, made on Nov. 7, to Republican Mark Harris, “who has remained completely silent.”

See the video at the bottom of this page.

“And I call on Mark Harris to tell us exactly what he knew and when he knew it,” McCready said.

As of 8 p.m., Harris had not issued a statement on social media or via email.

Bladen was only one of two counties in the district that voted overwhelmingly for Harris; the other was Union. The district also includes Richmond, Anson, Scotland, Robeson and parts of Mecklenburg and Cumberland — which all went for McCready.

Current records show the two are separated by 905 votes.

Richmond County GOP Chairman Jerry Austin said the county party believes the state board should hold a public hearing and “completely expose the facts regarding this issue,” adding that “Transparency is of the utmost importance.”

“The way this claim of alleged  improprieties was sprung was not transparent at all,” he added.  “There were no public protests and the decision to deny certifying county election results by the State Board of Elections was divulged at the 11th hour. The citizens of the 9th District deserve the facts and we hope the Board will be open and transparent from this point forward.”

Austin continued, saying if the board can show “unequivocally” that the outcome could not have been changed, then the results need to be certified so Harris can represent the district.

“Should facts prove that any of the alleged improprieties could have changed the outcome of the election then we support a new election,” he said. “However, we caution the call for a new election without absolute proof from an investigation which shows there is enough evidence that the ballots in question would have changed the results.

The N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement on Wednesday began posting public documents related to the probe.

“The State Board has long sought to promote public confidence in elections through the transparent production of official records and extensive public data when disclosure is possible without undermining the integrity of ongoing investigations or prematurely exposing sources,” Chairman Joshua Malcolm said in a letter dated Dec. 3 to the board’s executive director, Kimberly Westbrook Stratch. “Recognizing the importance of public disclosure of materials obtained in connection with the above-referenced investigation, and acknowledging pending requests for the same, I direct that staff undertake a review of materials that may be produced on a rolling basis in a manner reasonably calculated to serve the public interest without compromising the investigation.

“Notwithstanding the agency’s authority to withhold records of criminal investigations, consistent with past practice and the prior guidance of the Attorney General’s Office, every effort should be made to begin production of records at staff’s earliest opportunity and continue thereafter,” he added.

Malcolm, a Pembroke lawyer, was appointed chairman Monday by Gov. Roy Cooper after Andy Penry resigned over the weekend.

It was Malcolm who first raised questions of wrongdoing which led to the board failing to certify the 9th District race last week.

“If the allegations that someone destroyed ballots turns out to be true, the person responsible should be charged to the fullest extent of the law under the Voting Rights Act,” Austin concluded. “Voter fraud is absolutely unacceptable no matter what party you belong to.”

With the possibility of a special election looming, Libertarian Jeff Scott said he can’t imagine why he wouldn’t be on the ballot.

One advantage for him, he said, would be that more people would now know he’s on the ballot.

“I don’t know how a re-vote is going to go for me,” he said, but anticipates he could receive more than 5,130 votes the second time around because he’s the “second choice” for voters of both parties.

Scott has been following the political drama on Twitter and said reports seem to indicate “nefarious activity and mercenaries who don’t care what party they work for.”

“Both parties have been tainted by this scandal … it’s not just this election; it’s not just Mark Harris,” he said. “I think a lot of people are going to be angry that the Democrats didn’t do anything about this when they had the chance.”

Scott said voters can’t look past the fact that Democrats have participated in fraud in past election cycles.

“I would be very surprised if Democrat hands were found to be innocent of any election malfeasance,” he said.

He’s also been trying to put himself in the other candidates’ proverbial shoes.

As a third-party candidate, Scott said he didn’t have the funds to hire others to get out the vote.

“If you’ve got a big organization, you’re relying on a lot of people to do the right thing.”

 

Last modified on Thursday, 06 December 2018 23:16

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Dan McCready withdraws his Nov. 7 concession in the 9th Congressional District race on Dec. 6. Twitter