The incoming House majority leader said Democrats might refuse to seat a North Carolina Republican next year unless and until “substantial” questions about the integrity of his election are resolved. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the current minority whip, made the comments to reporters Tuesday as North Carolina election officials investigate whether an operative working on behalf of Republican candidate Mark Harris illegally collected incomplete ballots from voters. Hoyer’s comments, and the increasing criticism from other national Democrats, represent a new threat to Harris’s candidacy — suggesting that even if his apparent narrow victory is ultimately certified by the state, Harris could be subject to a months-long process in the House to determine whether he is ultimately sworn in.
The state probe has delayed the certification of Harris’s race in North Carolina’s 9th District, and state officials could decide to call for a new election. Harris and Democrat Dan McCready are separated by 905 votes, according to unofficial returns.
“If there is what appears to be a very substantial question on the integrity of the election, clearly we would oppose Mr. Harris being seated until that is resolved,” Hoyer said.
Meanwhile, key Republicans have gone silent or dialed down their rhetoric as the scope of the allegations have emerged in recent days.