More arrested in 9th district election scandal, as GOP’s new slate still growing

CHARLOTTE, NC —

The dates for new elections in North Carolina’s 9th district House race have been set (at least if there are no runoffs). But the only thing certain in the Republican list of primary contenders is that Mark Harris won’t be running.

Meanwhile, in the election fraud scandal that caused last fall’s race to be thrown out and a new one called, Leslie McCrae Dowless, the political operative at its center is not the only person facing consequences. A Wake County grand jury indicted five people on charges related to the alleged scheme, and four have been arrested. (Mary C. Curtis)

GOP greets North Carolina election scandal with crickets, excuses and misdirection

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — America might know the name of the next president before voters in North Carolina’s 9th District have a representative in the House.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

But one sure thing is that Mark Harris, the Republican who thought he won last fall, attended an orientation for new members of Congress and was picking out an office — won’t be the new congressman. He cited health reasons in taking himself out of the race that has no end in sight.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: BB&T and SunTrust Merge; No New Funds for Cross CLT Trail

Monday night’s City Council meeting brought with it suggestions on how to finish the Cross Charlotte Trail, which has come up $77 million short in funding, but the new plan left council members frustrated. We talk about the proposed solution and council member reactions.

BB&T and SunTrust Bank announced Thursday that the two banks would merge and move their new headquarters to Charlotte. What are the implications of this merger here and around the Southeast?

Charlotte City Council plans to vote next week on whether they’ll start the referendum process to extend their terms from two to four years. We discuss what council members said about the process.

United Way is experiencing budget problems, with plans to cut grants by 25 percent and cutting $1 million from its yearly budget. The reasons for the cuts go back several years.

Governor Cooper calls for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam after a racist 1984 yearbook picture surfaced.

Guest host David Boraks from WFAE News and our roundtable of reporters discuss those and other stories.

Guests:

Ann Doss Helms, reporter for the Charlotte Observer

Glenn Burkins, founder and publisher of QCityMetro.com 

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

Steve HarrisonWFAE political reporter

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.

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.

If She Didn’t Give Up on Democracy, Neither Should We

OPINION — If you don’t know Rosanell Eaton’s name, it’s time to learn exactly who she was and why her life and life’s work matters. She is the antidote to the cynicism infecting politics in 2018, a hero of democracy when democracy is under siege. She cared about her country and its highest principles, demanded her basic human and civil rights and brought others along with her.

Rosanell Eaton would not take “no” for an answer.

Her 97 years of life were full of the kind of accomplishments and resistance that truly make America great. We can mourn Eaton, who died on Saturday, and then honor her by following her example.

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.

N.C. Lame-Duck Session Begins, with Voter ID the Chief Task

CHARLOTTE, NC —  In the midterm elections, North Carolina voters delivered a check on the state general assembly’s Republican super-majorities, while also approving a voter ID amendment to the state constitution. Will state lawmakers be able to craft and approve a bill before the holiday break, a new year and new membership? GOP lawmakers hope so. Previous attempts at voter ID bills and voting restrictions did not pass muster with the courts.

While Republicans and supporters say photo voter ID is needed for security and to prevent fraud, opponents say it is a form of voter suppression, mostly affecting minorities, the elderly, students and the poor, a way to solve a problem that does not exist. (Mary C. Curtis)

And what else is on the docket for this lame-duck session?

2018 Midterm Takeaways

CHARLOTTE. NC —  North Carolina may not have had a senator or governor’s race on the ballot, but there was no shortage of drama in contests that determined GOP super-majorities in the state legislature, controversial amendments to the state constitution, Charlotte bond issues and judicial races. Several U.S. Congressional contests in North Carolina also drew national attention. (Mary Curtis)

WCCB political contributor, Mary C. Curtis offers more context on key local and national takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections.