WASHINGTON -- The new Congress was sworn in Thursday, with one notable exception. The seat for North Carolina's 9th district remains wide open amid an election fraud investigation.
“The clerk has not received a certificate of election for the 9th district for the state of North Carolina,” said Karen Haas, the House clerk from the dais above the House floor.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has not certified the race.
Republican Mark Harris garnered about 900 more votes than his Democratic rival Dan McCready during the November election. However, Harris has come under scrutiny, with questions mounting about his relationship to a man accused of harvesting ballots.
Congress has the final say on its membership, but so far North Carolina lawmakers - Democrats and Republicans alike - do not seem interested in stepping into the fray.
"The House of Representatives does not want to inject itself into the process right now," said Rep. GK Butterfield, D-N.C. "We want North Carolina to complete the investigation and certify a winner."
"It's important that the State Board of Elections certify the election and that this majority in the House of Representatives seat Mark Harris," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.
It will be weeks before the new state elections board will meet. A court ordered the old board be dissolved.
"It’s unfortunate that the committee was [disbanded]," said Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C. "I think we have to get to the bottom of what has happened."
If a new election is ordered, that could take additional months, meaning the seat could be left empty for quite a while.
The blame game is well underway.
"Because of the failure of the State Board of Elections and Raleigh politics, we have a member of Congress not seated today and 750,000 North Carolinians deprived of their voice here in Congress," McHenry said.
In statement Thursday, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said that anyone living in the 9th District who made need constituent services, including help with the VA or getting a passport, can contact his office for assistance.
North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones - a Republican representing the eastern part of the state, including the Outer Banks - was also not in Washington for Thursday's swearing in. His office says he is recovering from a medical issue.