National Republicans are silent on the fact Rep. Mark Harris stole an election through fraudulent absentee ballots, they're counting on Harris to win the new election anyway and making all of it go away. But the real problem is that Republicans have all but accused Democrats of stealing elections over the last decades, and when finally shown proof that it's Republicans committing election fraud, they don't care.
Republican politicians across the country have for years railed against the threat of voter fraud. Some have made unproven claims about how rampant it has become in order to pass voter ID laws and open sweeping investigations. The sanctity of the vote, they have said, must be protected at all costs.
But when a hard-fought congressional election in North Carolina — in which a Republican candidate appeared to narrowly beat his Democratic opponent — was overturned this week because of election fraud by a Republican political operative, the party was measured, and largely muted, in its response.
The state party chairman, Robin Hayes, issued a statement after officials ordered a new election calling the affair “a tremendously difficult situation for all involved.” National Republicans have been mostly mum. President Trump, who has made election fraud one of the hallmarks of his administration, was quiet on Twitter, although on Friday, facing reporters at the Oval Office, he condemned fraud — “all of it, and that includes North Carolina.”
Mark Harris, the Republican nominee, had eked out a 905-vote lead over Dan McCready. But the North Carolina Board of Elections refused to certify Mr. Harris as the winner and opened an investigation into irregularities. This week, the five-member board, made up of Republicans and Democrats, convened an evidentiary hearing in Raleigh at which witnesses described a voter-turnout effort that relied on the rogue collection of absentee ballots.
In several hours of testimony on Thursday, after his campaign acknowledged that it had withheld damning records from the board, Mr. Harris denied wrongdoing but also appeared to mislead regulators. He then surprised everyone by abandoning his claim to the Ninth Congressional District seat, which covers part of Charlotte and much of southeastern North Carolina.
Witnesses detailed how people working for a Harris campaign operative, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., had filled out parts of some absentee ballots and improperly collected others. On Friday, Lorrin Freeman, the district attorney in Wake County, said she could seek charges within weeks against Mr. Dowless and some of the people he hired.
“Obviously, it’s within the province of the grand jury as to whether they will return indictments,” Ms. Freeman said. “But do I anticipate there will be a criminal prosecution going forward? I do.”
State Republicans, who over the past few years have tightened voting laws and had fought to preserve Mr. Harris’s victory, were far less vociferous in denouncing voter fraud than they have been in the past.
That stands in marked contrast to 2016, when the state’s Republicans filed many complaints and claimed for a month that Roy Cooper, the Democrat who was elected governor that year, should not be seatedbecause rampant fraud had enabled his victory. The charge proved baseless.
Again, the GOP plan here is that Harris dodges charges, is quickly re-elected with some cash help from the national party screaming about SOCIALIST DEMOCRATS, and that once in office, he's shielded from attack. After all, it worked for Duncan Hunter in California. Hunter is still facing federal indictment for campaign embezzlement, but easily won reelection by calling his Democratic opponent a Muslim terrorist, and it worked.
There isn't any real reason to make me think NC Democrats have their act together enough for Dan McCready to win the seat in a special election, especially since I fully expect a gag order very soon from a Republican-friendly judge barring McCready's campaign from being able to mention the reason why there's a new election in the first place in any debates or campaign commercials.
It's entirely possible that Harris will win by an even larger margin...