NORTH CAROLINA 09 (R -- VACANT) | NC-9

Harris Said He Hired Dowless for Results-Driven Work

The Republican said he did not know the operative was accused of mishandling ballots.

Feb. 12, 2019, 10:48 a.m.

Pastor Mark Harris (R) said in an interview Monday that “he recruited a political operative who’s now at the center of a ballot fraud investigation because he produced election results in his rural North Carolina county and other Republicans vouched for him.” Harris said “he didn’t know before November’s election that state elections board investigators had accused McCrae Dowless of illegally handling ballots in 2016 and didn’t know that evidence went to federal prosecutors.”

“Harris says he wanted to hire Dowless after the operative’s 2016 GOP primary candidate got an incredible 98 percent of Bladen County’s absentee votes. He said he discussed with a campaign attorney after that 2016 primary whether to protest the anomalous result, but ultimately decided to drop the matter."

"A state elections board hearing next week should reveal whether investigators found wrongdoing in the 9th District race, where Harris narrowly leads" Marine veteran Dan McCready (D). "Harris says he still supports holding a new election if there is convincing evidence of ballot fraud in Dowless’ Bladen County electioneering efforts and the impact could have been large enough to change the results of the contest." But he raised doubts on that outcome.

Harris: “I was somewhat surprised by the sort of outlandish statements that would be made. There’ve been statements like that made, and statements that there are thousands and thousands of ballots that were mishandled or abused. I haven’t been privy to any of the investigation information and unless Mr. McCready has been privy to that information, I’m not sure what his source actually is.” (AP)

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