Incoming House majority leader says Mark Harris will not be seated

WASHINGTON — Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Mark Harris will not be seated on Jan. 3 as a member of the 116th Congress.

[SPECIAL SECTION: District 9 investigation]

“Given the now well-documented election fraud that took place in NC-09, Democrats would object to any attempt by Mr. Harris to be seated on Jan. 3,” Rep. Hoyer said. “In this instance, the integrity of our democratic process outweighs concerns about the seat being vacant at the start of the new Congress.”

Channel 9 was the first to break the news Friday.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is investigating election fraud and absentee ballot irregularities in the 9th Congressional District. Republican Harris’ campaign hired an operative named McCrae Dowless who is accused of running an illegal absentee ballot operation.

[RELATED: Documents detail how absentee ballots gathered in NC vote]

Two people told Channel 9 they were paid by Dowless to pick up absentee ballots from voters and return them to him. This is illegal in North Carolina.

Attorneys for Harris asked the NCSBE to certify Harris as the winner before the board disbanded at noon Friday. Only two members of the nine-member NCSBE wanted to have a hearing on Harris’ petition.

[RELATED: NC governor to appoint new state Elections Board to serve through January]

In response to the No. 2 Democrat’s statement, Dallas Woodhouse, executive director for NCGOP, maintained Harris will eventually be sworn in. "We believe Mark Harris is the duly elected Congressman Elect and will be certified and seated sooner rather than later," he said.

Woodhouse said earlier Friday, NCGOP may seek a federal court order to mandate certification of the 9th District race. The U.S. House, however, ultimately has constitutional power to determine who is seated.

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