CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The campaign of Republican Mark Harris said he plans to file a legal challenge on Thursday that will ask a court to order he immediately be certified as the winner of the 9th Congressional District election.
Harris' campaign made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Governor Roy Cooper said he would not seat a temporary Board of Elections that could hold a hearing into allegations of election fraud that had kept a previous elections board from certifying Harris' race.
In November, Harris narrowly beat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to not certify the contest over reported election irregularities in Bladen and Robeson Counties, specifically involving the collection of absentee ballots.
A three-judge panel order the NCSBE be dissolved late last week and a new permanent board cannot be seated until January 31, according to a new bill voted into law by the General Assembly hours before the court ruling dissolving the then-current SBE was issued.
Cooper had planned to appoint a temporary five-member board for the month of January but said on Wednesday he would not move forward with that plan amidst Republican opposition.
Because there will not be a board seated in January, an evidentiary hearing scheduled for January 11 to hear evidence of the alleged voter fraud cannot be held.
Harris' campaign said it was seeking the court order because of the continued delay in the Board of Elections holding a hearing.
“If we don’t do something the people of the 9th congressional district will go on without representation for a significant period of time," Harris' attorney, David Freedman, told WBTV Wednesday night.
Specifically, Harris will file a writ of mandamus in Wake County Superior Court on Thursday. The filing will ask a judge to declare Harris the winner of the election.
Also on Thursday, Harris will meet with investigators with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Freedman emphasized to WBTV that Harris supports the ongoing investigation into reported irregularities even as he seeks to have his race certified.
Incoming Democratic leaders in the US House of Representatives have said they will object to Harris being seated when the new session of Congress convenes on Thursday.