The state’s investigation into alleged election fraud by the Mark Harris campaign will continue, a judge ruled Tuesday morning. Harris is the Republican candidate who appeared to narrowly win an election for North Carolina’s 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. But the state has not certified his victory, due to an ongoing investigation into alleged fraud related to mail-in absentee ballots. Harris and his legal team had asked Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to order the state to certify the results of the election despite the investigation, which could then send Harris to Congress. Following two hours of arguments from Harris’ lawyers Tuesday morning, as well as lawyers for the state and Harris’ 2018 Democratic opponent Dan McCready, Ridgeway said he would deny Harris’ request. “This is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place, and asking this court to step in and exert extraordinary power in declaring the winner of an election, when that is clearly the purview of another branch of government,” he said during the hearing.
Neither Harris nor McCready attended the hearing Tuesday. In a press conference afterward, McCready spokesman Aaron Simpson said that “the most important thing is that people get the answers they deserve” and he hopes the investigation is concluded soon.
“I think both sides agree that it’s important that the people of North Carolina have a voice in Washington.”
In his ruling, Ridgeway — a Democrat who is Wake County’s senior resident superior court judge — said it would be inappropriate for him to order elections officials to take an action while they are still investigating.