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Candidate in undecided House race meets with investigators

January 3, 2019
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FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2018 file photo Republican Mark Harris speaks to the media during a news conference in Matthews, N.C. The North Carolina board investigating allegations of ballot fraud in a still-unresolved congressional race between Harris and Democrat Dan McCready could be disbanded Friday, Dec. 28 under a state court ruling in a protracted legal battle about how the panel operates. The state Elections Board has refused to certify the race between Harris and McCready while it investigates absentee ballot irregularities in the congressional district stretching from the Charlotte area through several counties to the east. Harris holds a slim lead in unofficial results, but election officials are looking into criminal allegations against an operative hired by the Harris campaign. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina congressional race where a winner hasn’t been finalized while an absentee ballot fraud investigation continues (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

The Republican candidate in the country’s last undecided congressional contest says he had a “great meeting” with North Carolina election board investigators examining absentee ballot irregularities in his race.

Mark Harris and his attorneys met with board staff for about two hours Thursday in Raleigh.

Board workers are collecting evidence about alleged fraud in the 9th Congressional District, where unofficial results show Harris holds a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready. Harris told reporters after the meeting he’ll continue to cooperate with investigators.

Harris’ chief campaign consultant hired a Bladen County man who is a focus of the board’s probe. Harris has said he’s done nothing wrong.

The interview came the same day Harris asked a state judge to declare him the winner because the now-defunct board didn’t act. The board’s staff members are still working. Congress also convened its two-year session Thursday, with the 9th District seat empty.

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11 a.m.

The Republican in the nation’s last undecided congressional race is asking a North Carolina court to require that he be declared the winner because the now-defunct state elections board didn’t act.

A lawsuit Mark Harris filed Thursday claims the disbanded elections board had been declared unconstitutional, so its investigation into alleged ballot fraud by an operative hired by the Harris campaign was invalid.

The elections board was dissolved on Friday by state judges who in October declared its form unconstitutional but allowed investigations to continue. A revamped board takes effect Jan. 31.

Harris asks a trial-court judge to order the state elections director to certify the Republican as the winner.

Harris was being interviewed by state investigators Thursday, as all other U.S. House winners are sworn into office in Washington.

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