The Wider World

Election result disputes are continuing

HOUSE races in Maine and North Carolina have produced controversies.

The Nov. 6 election is over, sort of, but the bitterness isn’t. Two incidents on Friday underlined that point. In North Carolina, the state board of elections dissolved itself without certifying the results of the voting in the Ninth Congressional District.

Republican Mark Harris holds a 905-vote edge over Democrat Dan McReady, but the tallying has been controversial because of allegations of ballot fraud by an operative working on behalf of Harris.

The U.S. House of Representatives is the final arbiter of its membership, and when the Democrats take over on Jan. 3, they will likely refuse to seat Harris, leaving the seat open with a court challenge also likely.

In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage certified the election of Democrat Jared Golden to the Second Congressional seat against Republican Bruce Poliquin, but wrote “stolen election” across the election certificate.

Golden won a narrow majority of votes, but the counting was complicated by a system in which voters could rank the top two candidates if no candidate won an initial majority, eliminating two independents.

Sears will close 80 more stores, awaits fate

The parent company of Sears and Kmart is planning on closing 80 more stores, it was announced on Friday. That will mean that 43 Sears and 37 Kmart stores will be shut down by March, and going-out-of-business sales will commence within two weeks.

Sears Holding filed for bankruptcy in October and needs a large investment – perhaps as large as $4.6 billion – to keep the chain afloat. The chain has shrunk from 700 stores at the time of the bankruptcy to fewer than 400 once the closings take effect.

In Orange County, Sears stores have closed in Westminster and Brea, and remain operating in Costa Mesa, Laguna Hills, Buena Park and Orange, although the Costa Mesa and Laguna Hills locations have been marked for closure.


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