Election 2018 North Carolina Congress
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Republican Mark Harris speaks last month in Matthews, N.C. Unofficial totals have Harris leading in the race.

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RALEIGH, N.C. • The North Carolina Republican Party would support a new election in the state’s unresolved congressional race if an investigation shows that wrongdoing swayed its outcome, its executive director said Thursday, softening the organization’s stance as allegations of absentee ballot fraud mount.

Amid the developments, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the House “retains the right to decide who is seated” and could take the “extraordinary step” of calling for a new election if the winner isn’t clear.

Unofficial totals have Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.

But the state elections board refused to certify the results last week because of allegations of “irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots in the district.

The board is meeting this month to hear evidence, but it’s unclear whether the race will be settled then.

North Carolina GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse texted a statement saying that the GOP would back a new election if the state’s elections board were to show that absentee ballot issues changed the outcome of the 9th Congressional District race.

“If they can show a substantial likelihood it could have changed the race then we fully would support a new election,” he said.

However, he said that if the investigation shows that the outcome would not have been changed, Republican candidate Harris should be certified the winner.

Entertaining the idea of a new election represents a significant change from last Thursday, when state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes issued a statement saying: “Democrats are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at the wall to try and steal an election.”

On Sunday, Hayes said there weren’t enough questioned ballots to change the race’s outcome, and the next day he accused a Democratic member of the state board of “score-settling.”

At issue is who can handle completed ballots. North Carolina law allows only a family member or legal guardian to drop off absentee ballots for a voter.

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