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Judge rejects Republican’s bid to be certified winner of North Carolina election

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A North Carolina judge on Tuesday rejected Republican Mark Harris’ bid to be certified as the winner of a congressional vote at the center of an election fraud investigation, saying doing so would be a “dramatic intervention.”

Harris claimed victory over Democrat Dan McCready, after initial results of the November election showed he had won the Ninth Congressional District race by 905 votes. Harris filed a petition earlier this month to certify the results of the vote.

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Judge Paul Ridgeway said at a hearing in Raleigh, North Carolina, that it would be premature for him to intervene before the state elections board finished its investigation.

“Certification is not appropriate until the investigation into the protest is concluded by final decision,” the judge said, noting “it would be highly unusual for this court to step in.”

Since the election, residents of rural Bladen County have stated in affidavits that people had come to their homes and collected incomplete absentee ballots. It is illegal in North Carolina for a third party to turn in absentee ballots.

The State Board of Elections was to hold a hearing on Jan. 11 as part of its probe into possible election fraud involving the collection of absentee ballots. But Republicans refused to participate in the creation of an interim election board, which has left the race in limbo.

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Lawyers for McCready and the state elections board told the judge on Tuesday that completion of the investigation was necessary because it could reveal evidence that calls into question the results of the vote.

Lawyers for Harris urged the judge to certify Harris as the district’s new congressman, saying there was nothing to contradict him as the winner and residents needed representation in Washington.

Neither candidate attended Tuesday’s hearing. Harris’ campaign said he was dealing with an illness.

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A new state elections board will go into effect on Jan. 31. Board members will be able to call for an evidentiary hearing and could order a new vote. The U.S. House of Representatives also could rule on the election outcome.

“We are pleased that Harris’ frivolous request has been denied and that North Carolina can get back to investigating allegations of systematic electoral fraud committed on behalf of Harris’ campaign,” Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina’s Democratic Party chairman, said in a statement.

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement he was confident Harris would eventually be seated.

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Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Grant McCool

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘It’s time for decent people to push back against Fox News’ on antifa: columnist

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President Donald Trump and Fox News are turning American values upside down with their fascist propaganda, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch explained on Tuesday.

"It seems like if you were truly sincere about the whole 'Make America Great Again' thing — that is, if it weren’t just a campaign slogan that jibes with your xenophobic branding and can move tens of thousands of red hats at $25 a pop — then one might actually want to celebrate America’s first victory against fascism," Bunch wrote.

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‘This is how he gets us killed’: American Jews and allies horrified after Trump blurts out anti-Semitic trope

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President Donald Trump blurted out another anti-Semitic trope during his brief press availability Tuesday in the Oval Office.

Trump has been having a kind of holy war with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), two of just three Muslim officials in Congress. When speaking to the press Tuesday, he claimed that Jews have no business supporting Democrats because they're anti-Semitic. But then he took it a step further.

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After getting caught having sex with former congregants, Franklin Graham’s nephew launches new church based on ‘redemption’

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Tullian Tchividjian insists that when he had extra-marital affairs with congregants at his former church, they were "consensual" and not an abuse of power. Nevertheless, he's getting a second shot with the upcoming launch of his new church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, The Christian Post reports.

“I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian, who is the nephew of evangelical figurehead Franklin Graham and the grandson of famed evangelist Billy Graham, told the Palm Beach Post this weekend. “And I’ll go, ‘OK I can see how that has been and can be used by people in those positions.’ ... [But] that just was not true for me. I was not abusing my authoritative role to try and find women.”

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