The Latest: Pittenger doesn’t plan to run again for old seat
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a new election being held for a North Carolina congressional seat after the state elections board reviewed evidence of ballot fraud (all times local):
The former GOP congressman who once held a seat now embroiled in a ballot-fraud scandal says he doesn’t plan to run in the special election that was just called.
Former U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger was unseated in May by Republican Mark Harris in the 9th District primary.
Harris led a Democrat in the general election before evidence of ballot fraud spurred the state to call for a new election. Harris on Tuesday announced he won’t run again.
Pittenger told The Associated Press that it was “good for the country and the party” that Harris wasn’t running. When asked why, he said simply: “I think it’s just obvious.”
Pittenger said he doesn’t intend to run again for his old seat. He said he’s “very engaged” in a series of conferences on counter-terrorism and security issues.
A date for the new election has not been announced.
A special election to fill the country’s last undetermined congressional race will take place without the North Carolina Republican who used a political operative accused of ballot fraud.
In a statement, Mark Harris said Tuesday he’s skipping the upcoming re-do election in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district for health reasons. Harris says he needs surgery that’s scheduled for late March.
He did not mention the alleged ballot fraud scandal.
Harris last week stopped a state elections board hearing into ballot fraud by declaring he couldn’t continue to testify. He cited health problems caused by a blood infection that required hospitalization and led to two strokes.
The elections board ordered a new contest after evidence that a Harris operative may have illegally collected mail-in ballots. Harris narrowly led Democrat Dan McCready after November’s election, but the outcome was never certified.
North Carolina criminal investigators are seeking phone and bank records as they dig into ballot fraud allegations that forced an election re-do in the country’s last undetermined congressional seat.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday the search warrants and what agents collected remain sealed from the public.
Court clerks records show the State Bureau of Investigation collected financial records for an unidentified suspect in December and sought phone records last month. Judges both times agreed the name of the suspect and details of the Bladen County case should be kept secret.
The state elections board last week ordered a new election in the state’s 9th congressional district after hearing evidence that a political operative working for Republican Mark Harris may have illegally collected mail-in ballots.
Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes. But the state refused to certify the outcome.