GOP’s New Tactic In NC-09: Blame Special Election On Democrats?

Mark Harris listens to the public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District investigation Monday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh.
Mark Harris listens during a public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District investigation at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Juli Leonard/The News & Observer via AP, Pool)
March 18, 2019 10:16 a.m.

The North Carolina GOP is taking an interesting tack in its attempt to purge the stain of candidate Mark Harris’ alleged involvement in an absentee ballot scheme that tainted the 9th District race: saying that the Democrats forced a redo special election.

A fundraising email from last week opens with all-caps text proclaiming “We have HORRIBLE news, and we wanted you to hear it from us first: DEMOCRATS have forced a SPECIAL ELECTION in North Carolina and the race is TIED!”

Screenshot from a local reporter:

This is a bizarre claim for a number of reasons.

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First of all, Republicans, including the then-candidate Mark Harris, joined the Democrat Dan McCready in calling for the redo election.

Second, the Republicans on the Board of Elections voted with the Democrats to provide a unanimous decision to hold a new election.

Third, the race can hardly be tied — the filing period ended just last week for candidates to throw their names into the ring.

PolitiFact has a good rundown of the depth of the falseness of this claim.

The NC GOP is currently fundraising for whoever becomes the party’s nominee, and the field is somewhat crowded (Harris has already bowed out). Ten Republicans have filed, including state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-NC), the brains behind the notorious “bathroom bill” that gained national attention in 2017.

Dan McCready, the original candidate, is still running for the Democrats.

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