House Democrats may not seat Republican until voting row resolved

FILE PHOTO: Mark Harris, Republican candidate from North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump and Ted Budd, Republican candidate from North Carolina’s 13th district look on during a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives may decide not to seat a North Carolina Republican after they take control in January until questions about voting irregularities are resolved, Representative Steny Hoyer’s office said on Tuesday.

Republican Mark Harris edged out Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the Nov. 6 congressional election, but the validity of hundreds of mail-in absentee ballots from a rural county has been called into question, the elections board said on Twitter. On Friday, North Carolina’s Board of Elections declined to certify Harris’s apparent victory.

Hoyer, who will take on the powerful role of House majority leader next month, told reporters if there is “a very substantial question on the integrity of the election,” Democrats would oppose seating Harris until the matter is resolved.

“At this point in time, he is not eligible for being sworn into the House,” Hoyer said, calling for North Carolina officials to resolve the controversy.

The contest will not affect the balance of power in the new Congress. Democrats already gained enough seats to take control of the House, while Republicans will still hold a Senate majority.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Amanda Becker; writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Shumaker

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