NORTH CAROLINA -- Calling him an “unsavory character,” Robert Pittenger remembers the time during a previous election cycle when he met with the man now at the center of the mounting Ninth District election fraud case.
Political operative McCrae Dowless was trying to offer Pittenger his services.
“What he proposed was something I did not want to do,” the congressman said. “Everything that I heard in the five minutes I spent with him was enough to say ‘No, thank you.’”
With accusations of harvested absentee ballots and other irregularities in the congressional election, Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for an investigation into what happened in the Tar Heel State.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the vice ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, is demanding a hearing. “Votes have been stolen by preying on senior and minority voters, and now a cloud of doubt and suspicion hangs over this election result,” Connolly wrote in a statement.
North Carolina congressman David Price, a Democrat, has endorsed this idea, writing in a tweet, “I support the call for an emergency hearing … to ascertain the extent of this fraud and take appropriate action as needed.”
Regardless of what the state board decides, the House ultimately gets the final word on who gets seated. The top ranking Democrat, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday the House could take the “extraordinary” step of calling for a new election if a winner is unclear.
“This is bigger than that one seat, this is about undermining the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said.
Asked if he thinks a new election should be called, Pittenger said they should wait to see what the “experts determine what’s the prudent measure.”
Pittenger lost in the primary election to Mark Harris, who went on to compete with Democrat Dan McCready in the general election. It is the results of that race that the state board refuses to certify.
Asked if he would run again if a new election – including a primary – were ordered, Pittenger said, “I’m not going to speculate on that.”
McCready, the Democrat in the Ninth District race, announced Thursday that he is withdrawing his concession to Harris.
North Carolina’s election board has ordered an evidentiary hearing on the allegations in the Ninth District race. Is set to take place by December 21.