open-seat

House GOP is down to 13 women. Will North Carolina special elections boost their ranks?
Of the 27 Republicans running in 3rd or 9th districts, seven are women

Women listen to candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 rally in Raleigh, N.C. Seven GOP women are running in the North Carolina special elections this year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

With two special elections in North Carolina this year, Republicans have a chance to send to Congress some company for West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller, the only female GOP lawmaker in the House freshman class.

The number of Republican women in the chamber is at a new low with just 13 in the 116th Congress, down from 23 the previous session. About 100 GOP women ran for the House in the 2018 cycle, but many of them struggled to get through primaries. 

Utah bill would give primary voters less say on who appears on special election ballots
Measure is latest development in yearslong struggle over party nomination process

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, right, with his wife, Sue, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan at his mock swearing-in ceremony in November 2017. Curtis won his special election after successfully petitioning to get on the GOP primary ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah voters would have fewer opportunities to weigh in on candidates to fill certain congressional seats under legislation that quietly passed the state Legislature this week. 

The bill, which has yet to be signed by the governor and has so far received little attention from local media, would change the process by which candidates appear on primary ballots in special elections to replace House members who resign in the middle of their terms. For those elections, only candidates nominated by delegates from either party would be able to run. Candidates would not be able to make the ballot by petitioning voters. 

It’s no longer all about Republican primaries for the Club for Growth
The club played in more general elections in 2018 and expects that to continue in 2020

David M. McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, believes his group needs to play in general elections, not just Republican primaries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Club for Growth has long been an arbiter of crowded primaries in safe Republican seats, but its role is evolving in the era of President Donald Trump. 

The group’s super PAC and PAC are still major players in internecine battles — the club successfully torpedoed a candidate in a Pennsylvania nominating convention over the weekend and is already interviewing candidates for two House special elections in North Carolina. 

Why this North Carolina Democrat thinks he can succeed Walter Jones
Conservative 3rd District backed Trump by 24 points in 2016

Retired Marine Col. Richard Bew is running for North Carolina’s 3rd District as a Democrat. (Courtesy Richard Bew’s campaign)

No Democrat stepped up to challenge Rep. Walter B. Jones last fall. The Republican congressman ran unopposed for a 13th term in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

But Jones’ death last month has triggered a September special election, and some Democrats are giving this military-heavy district another look. 

Mark Harris will not run in North Carolina’s 9th District special election
2018 GOP nominee cites health reasons for decision

Republican Mark Harris, center, announced on Tuesday that he won’t run in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District. Above, Harris campaigns in Charlotte, N.C., in October 2018 with President Donald Trump and Rep. Ted Budd. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

Less than a week after his surprise call for a new election in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republican Mark Harris announced he will not be a candidate in that contest. 

Harris, the 2018 GOP nominee for the seat, cited health reasons and noticeably didn’t mention the election fraud scandal that was the subject of last week’s dramatic evidentiary hearing before the North Carolina State Board of Elections. He led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes after last fall’s election, but the board refused to certify the result because of allegations that a contractor for the Harris campaign had tampered with absentee ballots. 

With 2020 around the corner, North Carolina special election isn’t just about 9th District
Tar Heel State is a must-win for Republicans in 2020 presidential and Senate contests

North Carolina’s Mark Harris, left, here at a rally in Charlotte last October with Rep. Ted Budd, is almost certain to have company in the GOP primary if he decides to run in the 9th District special election this year. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

What may be the most high-profile special election of 2019 is likely to attract national attention as a harbinger of things to come in a competitive state next year. 

The North Carolina State Board of Elections hasn’t yet set a date for the special primary or general election in the 9th District. But the contest is already taking shape with a burgeoning field of prospective GOP candidates in a race with potential consequences for next year’s presidential and Senate elections in the Tar Heel State. (House contests are more unpredictable since the North Carolina congressional map may change ahead of 2020.)

Previously unseen messages from Harris roil North Carolina House race hearing
Mark Harris said he believed Dowless over his own son about absentee ballot program

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said he believed operative Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. over the warnings of his own son. (John D. Simmons /The Charlotte Observer via AP)

The fourth day of hearings into election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District started with a potential evidentiary bombshell that roiled the proceedings and could extend them beyond this week.

Attorneys for Republican nominee Mark Harris’ campaign committee turned over a new message Wednesday night to the North Carolina State Board of Elections that had not been previously submitted. In the message, Harris asks for an introduction to Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., the operative who orchestrated the collection of absentee ballots.

Mark Harris’ son warned him about Dowless illegally collecting ballots in North Carolina race
Testimony by John Harris contradicts earlier interviews his father gave about GOP operative

The son of North Carolina Republican Mark Harris testified Wednesday that he warned his father about hiring an operative whom he believed ran an illegal ballot operation scheme. Above, Harris, center, campaigns with President Donald Trump and Rep. Ted Budd in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 26, 2018. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

In remarkable testimony Wednesday afternoon, the son of North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said he warned his father about Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. illegally collecting ballots before Harris hired him. 

John Harris, the son of the Republican nominee in North Carolina’s 9th District, told his father that collecting ballots was illegal and offered to send his father the statute proving that. 

House could have final say on new elections in N.C. election fraud case
Local elections board could deadlock after monthslong investigation, leaving House with final authority

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said Friday he would support a new election in the 9th District if illegal activity is found to have changed the results. (John D. Simmons /The Charlotte Observer via AP file photo)

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will decide this week whether it will certify results of a 2018 midterm election result in the 9th District, which has been thrown into question after investigators found absentee ballot “irregularities.”

If the five-member board deadlocks, the U.S. House will decide if it will seat Mark Harris, the GOP candidate and former Baptist minister who holds an unofficial 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready.

There’s at least one special election coming to North Carolina soon
Death of Rep. Walter Jones opens up a reliably red seat

The death of North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones opens up a seat in a Republican area that's used to being represented by a Jones in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The death of North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones over the weekend opens up a safe Republican seat on the state’s east coast.

The governor must call a special election for the 3rd District. But there is no statutory time frame, so the timing will be up to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.