A North Carolina judge says there aren't grounds to step in and declare victory for the Republican in the country's last undecided congressional race amid an investigation into whether his lead was boosted by illegal vote-collection tactics.

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit by Republican Mark Harris insisting he be declared the winner. Harris' attorneys asked the judge to step in because they said the 9th congressional district urgently needs a representative in Washington, D.C.

Harris narrowly leads Democrat Dan McCready in the contest, but the numbers have been clouded by doubt due to allegations that mail-in ballots could have been altered or discarded by a Harris subcontractor.

The state elections board was disbanded by an unrelated court order last month, and a new one takes over in nine days.

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