NC09 hearing set for Tuesday; Mark Harris will not attend

A hearing on whether or not the results of the District 9 election will be certified could come down from a judge Tuesday, and FOX 46 has learned that Republican Mark Harris-- who filed the initial petition to get the votes certified-- will not be in attendance. 

Harris announced that he would not attend the hearing due to an illness on Monday. Campaign officials say he's has been dealing with complications stemming from an infection. 

Even without Harris in attendance, there’s bound to be back and forth in Raleigh Tuesday morning, with Harris' campaign on one side, the State Board of Elections on the other and Dan McCready on a third side-- all waiting for word from a judge.

When Harris filed his petition with a Wake County court earlier this month, he set forth what will be happening in court on Jan. 22, because he wants the election certified now.

Harris currently leads democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, and makes the case that he needs to be certified so District 9 can have representation, but there's another case likely to be made, too, by the Harris campaign.

“Republicans will argue that there's not enough ballots to overturn the 905 vote margin of victory for Mark Harris,” said Dr. J. Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College. 

Bitzer says the arguments from Harris’ and McCready’s campaigns and the NCSBE shouldn’t be much of a surprise. 

“They will argue that for a judge to insert themselves into when the investigation is going on right now, it'll be judicial activism,” Bitzer said. 

As much has the case has dragged on-- nearly three months now-- Bitzer says it probably won’t end Tuesday.

“I’ll be surprised more if there was an immediate decision than I would be a judge saying 'let's take some time, let me read the material,’” said Bitzer. 

He says, for now, this is Mark Harris’ case to prove, but the State Board of Elections will need to make the case for why the investigation into reports of election fraud District 9 has taken so long.