JUDGE CITES ILLEGAL GERRYMANDERING IN VOTER ID AND TAX CAP AMENDMENT REVERSAL: “An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution,” he wrote. When the legislature wrote the amendments and voted to place them on the 2018 ballot, many of the members who voted to do so had been elected under district lines that were ruled unconstitutional because they had been drawn to dilute the political power of African-American voters. “We are delighted that the acts of the previous majority, which came to power through the use of racially discriminatory maps, have been checked,” N.C. NAACP president Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman said in a press release after the ruling was issued. “The prior General Assembly’s attempt to use its ill-gotten power to enshrine a racist photo voter ID requirement in the state constitution was particularly egregious, and we applaud the court for invalidating these attempts at unconstitutional overreach.”
MCCRAE DOWLESS PUTS UP WHINING GOFUNDME PAGE: An online fundraising page, purportedly launched by McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of ballot fraud allegations in the 9th Congressional District, says Dowless is the victim of a "political witch hunt" and has some harsh words for the son of Republican candidate Mark Harris. Dowless was working for Harris in the 2018 congressional race. The writer of the page, which appears to be Dowless, is seeking $100,000 for a "political defense fund." The page was launched Thursday, the day the State Board of Elections voted to call a new election in the district. "The liberal democrats are attempting to crucify me for helping a republican candidate and have portrayed me in an untrue light," says the writer. "I am a simple man and live in a 1,000 square foot house that is not even payed for. I am 63 years of age, and I receive Social Security." The page had been taken offline by Friday evening.
DAN MCCREADY LAUNCHES SECOND-CHANCE CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN WITH A VENGEANCE: The new campaign in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District kicked off Friday with a rally by Democrat Dan McCready, hints from several would-be GOP candidates and silence from Republican Mark Harris. The flurry of action came a day after the North Carolina State Board of Elections ordered a new election following a hearing that detailed election fraud in Bladen County. It made its decision after Harris stunned the hearing with his own call for a new election, after insisting for weeks that he won the vote last fall and should be certified. He led McCready by 905 votes after Election Day. “When you see a culture of corruption built by someone else’s campaign, this is bigger than one race, this is bigger than one election,” McCready told a roomful of supporters at a Waxhaw brewery. “We are going to keep fighting.”
BRITT AND TUCKER FIRST REPUBLICAN VULTURES CIRCLING HARRIS CORPSE: Several Republicans are now looking closely at whether they want to run in a new election for a North Carolina congressional seat. A current state senator and a recently retired senator both said Friday they are considering seeking the party's nomination in the 9th Congressional District. State Sen. Danny Britt of Lumberton said dozens of people have called or texted him about the seat but said "it has to be right for my family." And former Sen. Tommy Tucker of Union County says "a fresh start for the district would be in order." Republican Mark Harris ran last fall and held a slim lead over Democrat Dan McCready. The state election board ordered a new election Thursday after reviewing evidence of absentee ballot fraud by operatives working for Harris, who hasn't said whether he'll run again.
COHEN GIVES MUELLER PROBE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TRUMP ORGANIZATION'S DUBIOUS BUSINESS PRACTICES: Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, met last month with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, offering information about possible irregularities within the president’s family business and about a donor to the inaugural committee, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Cohen, who worked at the Trump Organization for a decade, spoke with the prosecutors about insurance claims the company had filed over the years, said the people, who did not elaborate on the nature of the possible irregularities. While it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Mr. Cohen’s information credible and whether they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump Organization, beyond their investigation into the company’s role in the hush money payments made before the 2016 election to women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging those payments.