CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In a rally Friday afternoon, Democrat Dan McCready announced that he will be running for the special election in NC09 following the North Carolina Board of Election vote Thursday to hold a new election.
The turn of events came during this week's District 9 investigation hearing. All five board members unanimously voted for a new election Thursday after Republican Mark Harris switched course and said he was in support of holding a new election.
“What can I say? Looks like we are having a new election," McCready said in Friday’s rally. “I am running in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th Distritct. We are in this fight and we are going to win this fight.”
McCready said he was surprised by the NCSBE’s decision to hold a new election.
“The one thing I can’t help but think is that what happened yesterday was that the State Board sent a message," McCready said. "In a 5-0 bipartisan decision - an historic decision - 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans came to together to send a message all across this country and all across the world that we care about democracy here in North Carolina.”
The hearing began Monday morning to begin publicly disclosing evidence into a months-long investigation into alleged election fraud in the 9th District.
The investigation began in late November after the NCSBE voted to not certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race where Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes after the November general election.
Members of the NCSBE received a private briefing from staff about the findings of the investigation at a meeting in early February.
The board that planned to preside over the hearing and determine whether to certify the results of the race or hold a new election is not the same board that voted to launch the investigation in November.
In December, a three-judge panel ordered the then-NCSBE to dissolve, finding that the bill creating that version of the elections board was unconstitutional. There was no elections board for the month of January. Governor Roy Cooper appointed the current five-member board, made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, on January 31, 2019, under the terms of a law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in response to the court order.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections will start considering dates for the new 9th Congressional district election at their next meeting.
Thursday afternoon, the state board of elections issued a press release saying “The State Board will set dates for new primary (and second primary, if necessary) and general elections at a subsequent meeting.”
Last December, the General Assembly passed a law mandating a new primary in the 9th Congressional District if the board of elections called for a new race.
Primary races typically fall under the guidelines of federal elections law so it is unclear whether North Carolina actually has the ability to call for a new primary or if there will be a legal challenge.
Primary candidates in North Carolina need 50 percent of the vote in order to advance to the general election, which is why a second primary could be required.
Federal elections law requires a minimum of 45 days to allow for absentee and mail-in voting.
Mark Harris has not indicated whether he will run again but during his statement Thursday said that he recently suffered two strokes and is battling ongoing health issues.
Other Republicans might look to enter the race to challenge McCready.