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- How a 1905 Debate About ‘Tainted’ Rockefeller Money Is a Reminder of Ethical Dilemmas Today
National money poured in for McCready, who proved a skilled fundraiser, and so did the national press. The race was a toss-up headed into election day, but with most of the votes in on election night, McCready conceded and left for a family vacation to Disney World. On November 27, , the state board of elections met to certify results, but unexpectedly refused to certify the Ninth District race, setting off a dizzying string of revelations.
McCready withdrew his concession. He winced a little when I asked him whether he conceded too readily. David A. Harris claimed ignorance of the scheme and sued unsuccessfully to be seated in Congress, but after acknowledging misstatements during a hearing in February, he abruptly dropped out of the race. The board ordered a new special election, scheduling it for September 10—an incredibly rare example of a federal election nullified because of irregularities.
But elections take place in specific times and places, and that means the special will take place under rather different circumstances than the election it was called to replicate. McCready met his wife, Laura, on a backpacking trip at Duke. He was immediately smitten.
She was a harder sell. It was good practice. Running for office that long takes a toll on a candidate, on staff, and on voters. If you don't have that, you don't have anything. This is the people's chance to get justice and there's nothing to do but give it our all. Over the course of two years, issues can change, too. McCready began his campaign running with a Republican majority in Congress.
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McCready also has a much stronger opponent in Bishop than he did in Harris. Naturally, that can cut both ways. While some Republicans running in tried to localize their races, deflecting attention away from the unpopular president, Bishop has been happy to nationalize his bid. Well, now it's more like, Wait a second, you guys weren't supposed to go up there and take a hard left turn like you're going straight to California. Read: North Carolina veers toward a congressional-election do-over. People are so tired of the partisan politics and people going to the extremes on both sides.
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If McCready wins the race, his path to victory will have run through suburban neighborhoods like South Charlotte. On a rainy Saturday morning in late August, driving to a South Charlotte precinct where McCready was going to knock on doors, I passed upscale shopping malls—brick-faced Brooks Brothers and the like—and leafy boulevards lined with McMansions, though the houses here are more upper-middle class than chichi.
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