North Carolina will hold a new election for its 9th Congressional district after a unanimous vote by the state board of elections earlier today.
The board came to a decision hours after the testimony of Mark Harris, the Republican nominee.
“I believe a new election should be called,” Harris said during the hearing Thursday. The board of elections will hammer out the details of the do-over election at a meeting to be held later. Due to a law recently passed by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature, any and all candidates seeking to run in the coming election will have to compete in a primary election.
State republicans thanked the state board and said they will do their best to prevent instances of potential fraud.
Wednesday, Harris’ son testified that he raised concerns about his father’s use of McCrae Dowless, a “shady political operative” who sought to join his campaign.
In 2017, John Harris told his father’s campaign consultant, Andy Yates: “I’ve heard about this McCrae guy, seems to me he might be kind of a shady character.” Yates testified he couldn’t recall any conversation fitting Harris’ recollection. In April of last year, Harris sent an email to his father reiterating his distrust of Dowless. “The key thing that I am fairly certain they do that is illegal is that they collect the completed absentee ballots and mail them all at once,” Harris wrote. “The way they pop up in batches at the board of elections makes me believe that.”
Harris, who was introduced to Dowless by former district court Judge Marion Warren, hired Dowless to handle campaign duties anyway.
Thursday, the elder Harris acknowledged the prescient nature of his correspondence with his son. “Sitting here four days into this meeting ... my son was a bit prophetic in his statement that day,” Harris said of his son’s warnings concerning Dowless’ ballot scheme.
Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate who lost the district by 905 votes amid concerns over potential voter fraud, tweeted his support for the unanimous decision. “The people deserved justice,” he said. “Today was a great step forward for Democracy in North Carolina.”
North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin released a statement supporting the board’s ruling. Goodwin and state democrats maintain that eveidence presented at the four-day hearing makes clear Harris’ involvement in the voter fraud operation beyond his previous disclosure.
“Over an extraordinary four-day hearing, investigators laid out point-by-point how Republican Mark Harris’ campaign funded and directed an elaborate, illegal scheme to steal an election,” Goodwin wrote. “This saga could only have ended in a new election, and we look forward to repairing the harm dealt by Republicans and giving the people of the Ninth district the representative they deserve.”