Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats should refuse to seat a Republican next year until questions are resolved over accusations of campaign-related fraud.
Hoyer said there’s a “substantial question” surrounding the election of GOP candidate Mark Harris in North Carolina and called for a thorough investigation before Harris is sworn in.
Harris has a lead of roughly 900 votes over his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, but continues to face allegations that his campaign illegally tampered with absentee ballots to swing the election in his favor.
“This is a very substantial question,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “Clearly we would oppose Mr. Harris’ being seated until that is resolved.”
Hoyer said he planned to talk to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who is expected to lead the House Administration Committee next year, about looking into the fraud allegations. So far the North Carolina elections board has twice refused to certify the results and has launched its own investigation into the accusations.
The move by the board came after multiple voters offered notarized affidavits claiming a woman was going door-to-door offering to help fill out and return absentee ballots in Bladen County, located in the eastern part of the ninth congressional district.
There are now questions as to whether the potential fraud extended further back, to the Republican primary, where Harris narrowly defeated GOP incumbent Robert Pittenger. The investigation is now focusing on a local GOP operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless who helped run Harris’ campaign, according to a report in the Washington Post Monday.
Democrats are watching the results closely as the investigation continues.
North Carolina elections officials could call for another election between the two, possibly handing Democrats another GOP pickup to help pad their majority heading into the new Congress. The board is expected to hold a hearing on the fraud investigation later this month.
“The House has, as you know, the authority over the propriety of the election,” Hoyer said. “He has not been certified yet, they have refused to certify him. So at this point in time he is not eligible for being sworn in to the House.”