Democratic congressman press McCrory to change special election date

01/10/2014 11:44 AM

01/10/2014 11:46 AM

Two Democratic congressman are asking Gov. Pat McCrory to reconsider his decision to delay filling the seat vacated by Mel Watt, saying they are unconvinced by his reasoning.

“Under your announced timetable, they will go without voting representation for more than 300 days,” wrote U.S. Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield. “Such a delay is unacceptable; indeed, it is unprecedented in recent congressional history.”

McCrory announced Monday that he would put the special election to fill the state’s 12 Congressional District concurrent with the 2014 elections, meaning an interim replacement won’t be named until November with the full-time elected replacement starting in January.

In the announcement, McCrory cited efficiency, cost and the desire to minimize confusion for voters. His office estimated it would cost near $1 million to hold a special election.

Price and Butterfield wrote that of the seven vacancies in the 113th Congress, six were filed in an average 126 days. The seventh will take place at 145 days.

“The rationale you have offered, that it is both too costly and logistically impossible to hold the special election before November, is not convincing,” they wrote. “The 2013 filing period is fully 30 days away; not a single primary ballot has yet been printed for any precinct in the state.

“The assumption that North Carolina is better served by having one less advocate in the House for nearly a full year than by finding a cost-effective way to minimize the vacancy is seriously misguided. The fact that your decision requires so many of our state’s citizen’s to forgo their constitutionally guaranteed right of representation for twice as long as common practice is indefensible.”

State Rep. Alma Adams, who is campaigning to replace Watt, told the News & Record in Greensboro on Thursday that she would introduce legislation to limit the length of time a congressional seat can remain vacant.

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