Dan McCready's reversal came as a top leader at the state's Republican Party said it would support a new election in the unresolved 9th Congressional District race if an investigation shows that wrongdoing swayed its outcome.
Unofficial totals have Republican Mark Harris leading 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 later this month to hear evidence, but it's unclear whether the race will be settled then. The board could order a new election.
McCready, an Iraq War veteran who outraised Harris in the campaign, initially conceded the day after the election, when Harris' lead was less than 1,900 votes. The margin was cut by half the next week, but he declined to seek a recount. He changed his mind with the arrival of the allegations, some of which have been linked to a man who worked for Harris' chief strategist.
"I didn't serve overseas in the Marine Corps just to come back and watch politicians and career criminals attack our democracy," McCready said. "That's why today I withdraw my concession to Mark Harris, who's remained completely silent."
But Republicans and Democrats continue to disagree on how to properly investigate voting irregularities in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.
Three Republican State Senators called on Gov. Roy Cooper to appoint a bipartisan taskforce to investigate the voting irregularities in the election.
Immediately following the Republicans, NC Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin said Republicans are doing everything they can to distract from the issue at hand.
"We have voters who are the victims here. This is election fraud, election rigging, election tampering. And we should focus on this election. But if we learn other information about prior elections, then we need to go where the facts take us," Goodwin said.
"If they have evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that this election outcome was or could have been changed, then we think the law requires a new election, and we would not oppose that," said Dallas Woodhouse, the NCGOP Executive Director. "The important thing here is that we all work together, Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated. People that really believe in the political system for the right reason, and stamp this garbage out once and for all, forever. And severely punish the people involved."
Republican State Senators Dan Bishop (Mecklenburg), Tommy Tucker (Union), and Paul Newton (Cabarrus) said Thursday they supported a transparent and comprehensive investigation into the 9th District Congressional election.
"Sufficient action must be taken and there's reason to doubt the capacity of the State Board of Elections to be able to handle the problem," Bishop said.
The North Carolina Board of Elections (NCBOE) voted against certifying the 9th District's election because of ongoing investigations into election fraud.
"It makes me sick. We need to get to the bottom of this in a transparent and bipartisan way," Tucker said. "Any fraud is unacceptable in the state."
Bishop and Newton joined Tucker in calling on the governor to create a taskforce that has the authority to get to the bottom of the 9th District's election.
However, Goodwin said the call for a new bipartisan taskforce by Republicans is nothing more than another attempt to distract citizens from what's happening.
"Republicans are attacking a state board that they themselves created in an attempt to obfuscate and distract from what's happening in the 9th Congressional District," Goodwin said.
Goodwin said the NCBOE is a bipartisan group that is already investigating the issue.
"Instead of supporting a thorough investigation into these very serious allegations, Republicans are attacking a state board that they themselves created, in an attempt to obfuscate and distract from what is happening in the 9th Congressional District," Goodwin said.
Woodhouse said these problems are nothing new.
"Our activists, good Republican activists, do not engage in these things," he said. "They engage in politics because they believe Republican ideas are better, and they believe Republican policy outcomes are better for the people. The Democrat activists do the same thing. The people who are involved in this are political mercenaries. They don't care who wins. They don't care about education policy or national defense, they just want to get paid. And it is clear now that there has been a systematic failure over three governors' administrations with multiple Boards of Elections from the Republican and Democrat side and through criminal prosecution to get a handle on this going back over a decade,"