Judge Denies Mark Harris’ Request to Be Certified

CHARLOTTE, NC — On Tuesday, a Wake County Superior Court judge turned down the request of Republican Mark Harris to certify him as the winner in his race against Democrat Dan McCready. “This is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place,” said Judge Paul Ridgeway. He said asking the court to step in and declare the winner, when that is the authority of another branch of government, was inappropriate, especially in the middle of an ongoing investigation. (Mary C. Curtis)

9th District Race – No End in Sight

CHARLOTTE, NC —  Robert Pittenger will not run again in North Carolina’s 8th District U.S. House race.  At least that’s what he says.  And right now, that might be the only thing people know for sure about the contested contest roiled by accusations of election fraud and more plot twists than any movie.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Voter ID Is Law In NC; 9th District Still Unresolved; I-77 Tolls

On this edition of the Local News Roundup:

The disputed election in the 9th Congressional district is a long way from being resolved. The new Congress takes office on Jan. 3 and the citizens in the 9th district will not have representation. How long could it go on? We’ll discuss the state election board’s plans for a hearing after the new year. We’ll also talk about what McCrae Dowless’ attorney said this week about proving her client’s innocence.

Voter ID is now law in North Carolina after the house overrode Governor Cooper’s veto. The move was followed immediately by lawsuits challenging the law.

The opening of the new Interstate 77 toll lanes is delayed again. I-77 Mobility Partners says that the section of the project that was slated to open by the end of 2018 will now be pushed back to the first quarter of 2019, with the full 26-mile project complete by summer.

Another jobs announcement for Charlotte this week, with more than 1,200 jobs headed our way in the expansion of financial tech company AvidXChange. What kinds of jobs will they offer and what’s the expected impact on the Queen City? We’ll explore.

City Council voted to approve new equipment for the CMPD SWAT team totaling over $500,000. We’ll talk about what equipment was picked and why some council members opposed the purchase.

Charlotteans are remembering Jim Rogers, the former CEO and Chair of Duke Energy, who died at the age of 71 this week. We discuss what some are saying about his legacy.

And with the Panthers’ Monday Night Football loss to the Saints this week, our post-season chances are just about zero. Cam Newton is sidelined for the rest of the season due to injury. What might this mean for Ron Rivera and others next season?

Guest host Erik Spanberg from the Charlotte Business Journal will go through those stories, and much more with our roundtable of reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Ann Doss Helms, reporter for theCharlotte Observer 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE

Alex Olgin, reporter WFAE

More Drama in 9th District House Race

CHARLOTTE, NC — A new day, a new wrinkle in the contested and controversial 9th District U.S. House between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The latest: The North Carolina Republican Party is asking the state elections board to certify Mark Harris as the winner, if it cannot provide evidence that suspected election fraud, particularly in Bladen County, in the midterm would have changed the result. (Mary C. Curtis)

Of course, Democrats want to see the investigation finished. So, what’s next?

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

A House Race in North Carolina Gets Curiouser and Curiouser

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Perhaps North Carolina’s 9th District will have a congressman by January; but maybe not.

You see, there seems to have been a mix-up in the count, distribution and collection of absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties, which make up part of the district — what the state elections board (made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and one independent) called “unfortunate activities” when it first refused to certify the results.

For a while, it looked as though the Republican, former Baptist pastor Mark Harris, had beaten the Democrat, Marine veteran and businessman Dan McCready, by a mere 905 votes of about 280,000 cast in the gerrymandered district that may not exist after a court-ordered redraw. But now investigations, possible lawsuits and an absence of official results mean this particular 2018 race may not be decided until 2019.

Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina

OPINION — When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about.

This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands.

What does an Ohio special election say about the November midterm elections?

In an Ohio congressional district that has sent Republicans to Washington for decades, the special election race on Tuesday is currently too close to call, with Republican Troy Balderson leading Democrat Danny O’Connor by less than one percentage point. What does it mean for chances of a November blue or red wave? Did President Trump’s weekend rally there help Balderson? What about suburban GOP women? What about turnout? Will Democrats re-think Nancy Pelosi as speaker, and will that to help their chances?

More questions, as the two Ohio candidates will meet again in November.

Opinion: We Just Can’t Shake That Old-Time Religion

“Bless your heart” is a phrase I got to know well when I moved from the Northeast to the South several years ago. Though often spoken in soft, sympathetic tones, there was nothing blessed about the sentiment. And when those three syllables were delivered in an email, usually after I wrote a column a reader did not like, they landed like a punch to the gut.

Oddly enough, it was commentary on faith and values that elicited quite a bit of high dudgeon, topped only by the historically reliable topic of race, which, like religion, carries the taint of a North versus South, “them” against “us” spiritual split.

It was no surprise, then, that one of the most recent dust-ups in the sandbox called the U.S. House of Representatives was over religion — most specifically, the faith, message and suitability of the chamber’s chaplain — or that it, too, had its share of regional side-choosing.

Opinion: Showing Your Gun — A New Campaign Strategy?

A U.S. House race in South Carolina may depend on how you define the word “brandish,” as in, what exactly do you call it when Republican Congressman Ralph Norman pulls out his gunin a Rock Hill diner meet-and-greet with constituents?

Though the state’s law enforcement division and attorney general have concluded “this is not a prosecutable offense,” Republicans and Democrats are weighing the political plusses and minuses of the recent event in light of a midterm race that gets more interesting by the day.

Opinion: A Veteran Takes on a House Incumbent — and Other N.C. Political Tales

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Purplish-red North Carolina is hard to figure out. That may be why national eyes tend to watch local, state and federal races for clues of political trends, particularly whether or not the Donald Trump phenomenon is fading. Or perhaps it’s just the state’s unpredictability and the entertainment value of its outsize personalities who make news, even when they wish they had not.