MARK HARRIS WILL ASK JUDGE TO CERTIFY HIS TAINTED ELECTION: Republican Mark Harris said Wednesday he’ll ask a Wake County Superior Court judge to certify his election in the 9th Congressional District immediately, even as a probe into alleged election fraud continues. Harris’ announcement came after North Carolina state elections officials postponed next week’s hearing into allegations of election fraud in the 9th District — and after Gov. Roy Cooper accused Republicans of blocking the probe. It also came a day before a new Democratic-controlled U.S. House is sworn in, presumably without Harris, the winner of November’s election. Instead of taking a seat in Congress on Thursday, Harris will meet with investigators looking into the fraud allegations in Raleigh, according to a spokesman for the state elections board and Harris’ attorney.
REPUBLICAN EFFORTS TO MOVE NC GERRYMANDERING LAWSUIT TO FEDERAL COURT FAIL: Litigation challenging North Carolina legislative districts on arguments they excessively favor Republicans to the point of violating the state constitution will remain in state court. A federal judge Wednesday ordered the case stay in Wake County Superior Court, where Democrats and election reform advocates filed their partisan gerrymandering lawsuit in November. U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan wrote she'd explain her reasoning later. Last month, Republican lawmakers sought to move the lawsuit to federal court because they said the way plaintiffs wanted House and Senate maps redrawn conflict with federal laws. The plaintiffs said no such conflict exists and seek a state trial in April. One GOP senator said last month Democrats ultimately want the case heard before the state Supreme Court, where five of the seven justices will be registered Democrats.
MYERS PARK PAT MAKES NOISES ABOUT RUNNING FOR OFFICE AGAIN: Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday ruled out running in the 9th Congressional District — but not for governor in 2020 or the U.S. Senate in 2022. Speaking on his morning talk show on WBT radio, the Charlotte Republican said he’ll make that decision later this year. “I’m going to do a thorough assessment about running for governor (in 2020) or Senate in 2022, but I’m not ready to make either decision,” McCrory said. Whatever he does politically, McCrory said he wants to continue to be a voice in public affairs. He talked about the possibility of syndicating his radio show and “expanding outreach” to a new generation. He said he plans to teach leadership this year at a college level (Lol!), but declined to say where.
IN THE MIDST OF CRIPPLING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, TRUMP WHINES ABOUT BEING ALONE FOR THE HOLIDAYS: "You know, I was in the White House all by myself for six, seven days. It was very lonely. My family was down in Florida," Trump recounted. He described channel-flipping and watching a different network — PBS — to fill the time. "I felt I should be here just in case people wanted to come and negotiate the border security," Trump explained. "I was all by myself in the White House — it's a big, big house — except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns," Trump said, referencing the Secret Service and military personnel who guard the White House year-round. "I was waving to them. ... These are great people. And they don't play games. They don't, like, wave. They don't even smile," he said. "I was hoping that maybe somebody would come back and negotiate. But they didn't do that."
BERNIE SANDERS ON THE HOT SEAT OVER MISTREATMENT OF FEMALE CAMPAIGN WORKERS IN 2016: In interviews, women told of makeshift living accommodations on the road, where they were asked to sleep in rooms along with male co-workers they didn’t know. Women who had access to salary records were taken aback to learn that some female staff members made thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts. The former staff members said complaints about mistreatment and pay disparity during and just after the campaign reached some senior leaders of the operation. In an interview Wednesday night on CNN, Mr. Sanders said he was proud of his 2016 campaign and attributed any missteps with staff members to the explosive growth that was sometimes overwhelming. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right, in terms of human resources,” he told Anderson Cooper. “I certainly apologize to any woman who felt she was not treated appropriately, and of course if I run we will do better the next time,” he said. Asked if he knew about the staff complaints, he said, “I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case.”