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

Harris's Son Said He Raised Concerns About Dowless to Dad

The GOP candidate took the stand on Thursday morning.

Feb. 21, 2019, 10:45 a.m.

"Contradicting his father’s previous denials, the son of" pastor Mark Harris (R) "testified Wednesday that he told the candidate multiple times that he had concerns about the political operative hired to run an absentee ballot campaign in Bladen County. The testimony from John Harris rebutted suggestions by Harris and his campaign that they’d seen no red flags about McCrae Dowless. ... John Harris’ dramatic testimony came on the third day of a hearing by North Carolina’s State Board of Elections ... and it left his father in tears. ... His parents did not know he was going to testify."

“'I love my dad and I love my mom,' John Harris said as his father cried. 'I certainly have no vendetta against them, no family scores to settle, OK? I think they made mistakes in this process, and they certainly did things differently than I would have done them.'”

"John Harris, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina, first raised concerns about ballot collection in Bladen County on the night of the Republican primary in 2016. ... John Harris again raised concerns in April 2017, a day after Harris first met with Dowless about running an absentee ballot program in Bladen and Robeson counties. ... He also emailed his fears abut Dowless. ... 'The key thing I am fairly certain of they do that is illegal is they collect the completed absentee ballots and mail them all at once,' he emailed his parents." (Raleigh News & Observer)

Harris took the stand on Thursday morning and said Dowless told him he would never take and submit absentee ballots from voters in the district. He will continue to answer questions Thursday from attorneys and board investigators.

LONG READ. "Kelly Hendrix was recruited into an illicit effort to sway a congressional race by a customer at the fast-food restaurant where she worked. One day, Ms. Hendrix was serving burgers and biscuits at a Hardee’s in Bladen County. Soon after that, she was engaged in political shenanigans at the behest of her customer, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a veteran campaign operative in a rural pocket of southeastern North Carolina where one in four people lives below the poverty line. (New York Times)

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