A civil rights organization pressed North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday not to wait until November to let voters elect a successor to former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, saying that will deny representation to 12th Congressional District residents for too long. Holding a Nov. 4 election to fill Watt’s unexpired term means more than 700,000 citizens will be without someone in Congress to speak for them on critical legislation like the budget, immigration and possibly the Voting Rights Act for most of 2014, said the Rev. William Barber, president of the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Citizens of North Carolina will be forced to go more than 300 days – almost one year – without their constitutionally guaranteed right to representation,” Barber told reporters. “This is taxation without representation.”
But McCrory, a Republican, stood by his plan to run the special election on the dates already scheduled for the regular 2014 elections in the interests of simplicity, expense and understanding for voters in the Piedmont-area district.
“A simple schedule, where the voters have ample time to evaluate the candidates, and the candidates have ample time to campaign, was the best option,” McCrory wrote in a letter to U.S. Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield. The two Democratic incumbents wrote the governor last week asking him to reconsider the special election schedule.
Watt, a Democrat, resigned Jan. 6 to become director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.