Wednesday News: Uncertified


HARRIS WIN OVER MCCREADY IN NC09 CALLED INTO QUESTION BY STATE BOARD: The state board of elections Tuesday refused to certify the results of the 9th Congressional District election after one board member cited what he called “unfortunate activities” in the eastern part of the district. Election board member Joshua Malcolm raised the issue in what was expected to be a routine certification of the results of North Carolina’s 13 congressional races. He asked the board to remove the 9th District from the list of those to be certified. “I’m very familiar with unfortunate activities that have been happening down in my part of the state,” vice chair Malcolm, a Robeson County Democrat, told the board. “And I am not going to turn a blind eye to what took place to the best of my understanding which has been ongoing for a number of years that has repeatedly been referred to the United States attorney and the district attorneys for them to take action and clean it up. And in my opinion those things have not taken place.”

RALPH HISE GETS OFF WITH SLAP ON THE WRIST FOR ABUSING CAMPAIGN FUNDS: Twenty months after it was filed, the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement on Tuesday settled a campaign finance complaint against Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, accepting $4,500 to conclude its investigation. The board gave little explanation for its unanimous decision, which came after closed-session discussion. Greg Flynn, who requested the investigation after cataloging thousands of dollars in inconsistencies in Hise's reports, dubbed himself disappointed. "It's just like they gave up," he said. Hise's most recent political opponent, David Wheeler, was incensed by the decision and accused the senator of embezzlement. Hise wasn't there, but his campaign attorney, Steve Long, rose to push back. "You're making false statements," Long said. Wheeler said later that he plans to seek a criminal investigation from one or more district attorneys, and he called the affair "corruption at its worst."

AMID PROTESTS, VOTER ID BILLS MOVE FORWARD IN BOTH HOUSES OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Protest organizers handed out signs that said “lame ducks go home” — a reference to the legislature coming back to write the voter ID laws now, in a lame-duck session while the numerous Republicans who lost their re-election bids earlier this month are still in office. Legislators are drafting a voter ID bill after it passed as a constitutional amendment during the midterm elections earlier this month with more than 55 percent of the vote. A previous voter ID bill from 2013 was struck down in 2016 by a panel of judges who said it targeted African Americans with “discriminatory intent.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision. Some of the top questions that legislators will have to answer in the coming days include whether student IDs will be accepted at the polls, whether expired IDs will be allowed, and what the state will do to help people without an acceptable photo ID get one in order to avoid being disenfranchised.

LEAST SURPRISING HEADLINE EVER: "RACIST WINS ELECTION IN MISSISSIPPI": The contest caps a campaign season that exposed persistent racial divisions in America — and the willingness of some political candidates to exploit them to win elections. With Hyde-Smith's victory, Republicans control 53 of the Senate's 100 seats. The GOP lost control of the House, where Democrats will assume the majority in January. In the final weeks of the runoff, Hyde-Smith's campaign said the remark about making voting difficult was a joke. She said the "public hanging" comment was "an exaggerated expression of regard" for a fellow cattle rancher. During a televised debate nine days after the video was publicized, she apologized to "anyone that was offended by my comments," but also said the remark was used as a "weapon" against her. Democratic opponent Espy, 64, a former U.S. agriculture secretary, replied: "I don't know what's in your heart, but I know what came out of your mouth."

U.S. SENATE CONTEMPLATING WITHDRAWING SUPPORT OF SAUDI ARABIA IN YEMEN WAR: A vote to limit presidential war powers in Yemen could happen as early as Wednesday, following a closed-door, classified briefing to senators by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Several senators signaled they would use the briefing on Yemen to also ask about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist and Saudi dissident, inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The death sparked international outrage over the kingdom’s heavy-handed tactics and renewed attention to the war in Yemen. It may now also serve as the catalyst for approval of the War Powers Resolution, which the Senate rejected as recently as in March. “No question, we have more support than we have had before,” Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and the legislation’s author, said in an interview. “The American people and members of Congress are learning about the brutality and dishonesty of the Saudi administration based on their murder of Khashoggi.”