“After a stunning reversal by” pastor Mark Harris (R), “North Carolina election officials Thursday unanimously ordered a new election in the” district after widespread evidence of fraud. Their decision “came less than an hour after a startling” call for a new race “by Harris, who had been fighting to have his apparent victory certified. … The state board will set dates for a new election in the district with election officials outlining a possible May primary and October general election. A new state law requires a primary election, though legal challenges are expected.”
“Harris, 52, spent the morning answering questions about his relationship with Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless, an elected official and convicted felon at the center of the controversy. But his attorney stopped the queries after Harris repeatedly denied telling anyone that emails between his son John and him would not be part of evidence. When Harris returned after a nearly two-hour break, he admitted that testimony was incorrect.” (Raleigh News & Observer)
Harris: “It’s become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the Ninth District’s general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted."
"Out of public view, Mark Harris’s perils were mounting. Just before his son climbed the witness stand, the campaign’s counsel acknowledged that they had more undisclosed documents to share with investigators. That revelation, which a lawyer for Mr. Harris attributed to differing interpretations over a subpoena’s scope, stunned state officials. Board members, who had seemed mostly impassive through days of testimony, were outraged." (New York Times)
NEW ELECTION FIELD. Asked on his way out if he would run in a new election, “Harris did not answer but his wife, Beth, said ‘We will have to think about it.’” (CNN) The NRCC typically does not play in GOP primaries, and national Republicans said the committee is unlikely to get involved” in this special primary. “Some Republicans are privately concerned about Harris's viability,” and there are several other candidates considering runs. Among them: Union County GOP Chairman Dan Barry, former Charlotte mayoral candidate Kenny Smith, and ex-Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour." (Hotline reporting)
Jeff Scott, the Libertarian candidate in the race, announced he will run again.
Marine veteran Dan McCready (D), who raised $500,000 toward a new race, sent out a fundraising blast on Thursday after the decision. His attorney, Marc Elias, would not say Thursday whether or not he will challenge the state law requiring a new primary election in the race. (WSOC)
RESPONSE FROM THE DEMS.
McCready: "From the moment the first vote was stolen in North Carolina, from the moment the first voice was silenced by election fraud, the people have deserved justice. Today was a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina." (Twitter)
DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos: "I look forward to joining with countless others in this special election to do the hard work of repairing the harm Mark Harris, and Republicans in North Carolina, have caused.” (release)