House Dems signal possible probe of disputed North Carolina election

Democrats in the House are discussing preparations to launch investigations into election fraud allegations in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District as the state's investigation into the race between Mark HarrisMark HarrisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate Why my American Indian tribe voted Republican in NC's special election North Carolina race raises 2020 red flags for Republicans, Democrats MORE (R) and Dan McCready (D) stretches into the new year.

Politico reports that Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHarris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge The Hill's Morning Report — DOJ's planned executions stir new debate Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Ohio), who chairs the House subcommittee on elections, says she has met with other committee and subcommittee chairs to discuss Democrats' response to the potential of a North Carolina court ordering the election be certified before a state investigation into the claims concludes.

“It is our hope that the courts in North Carolina would do the right thing,” Fudge told Politico. “If they chose not to the right thing, or if for some reason he brings a certification here, we would challenge the propriety of seating him at that point until such time as there was a proper investigation done by the House.”

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North Carolina's 9th District has been rocked by accusations for months that a Harris staffer, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., conducted an illegal absentee ballot-harvesting operation in two counties in the state with the intention of swinging the absentee ballot vote in Harris's favor.

Were a judge to end the investigation into Harris's campaign before state officials determine whether a new election is needed, Fudge says, she is “confident that the House would bring an action against the state of North Carolina."

Harris holds a slim lead over McCready in the vote totals for the disputed race, which has come under investigation by the North Carolina state Board of Elections.

House leaders including newly elected Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiProgressives call for impeachment inquiry after reported Kavanaugh allegations The promise and peril of offshoring prescription drug pricing Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE (D-Calif.) raised the possibility of the House refusing to seat Harris last month.

“The House still retains the right to decide who is seated,” Pelosi said in December. “Any member-elect can object to the seating or the swearing-in of another member-elect, and we’ll see how that goes.”

McCready withdrew his initial concession last month in a video message calling on Harris to “tell us exactly what he knew and when he knew it" about fraud allegations in the district.

The fight over the congressional seat could drag on for months, as the state board of elections faces its own questions about the board's constitutionality. Harris has called for a new election if the state board is able to find evidence of fraud "on either side."

“The integrity of our electoral process is the heart of our democracy and we must protect it,” Harris said last month in a video statement. “I’m hopeful that this process will ultimately result in the certification of my election to Congress before the next House session begins.”