Mark Harris just lost any chance of taking a seat in Congress, but the real losers are voters – Washington Examiner
On Thursday, Mark Harris, the Republican candidate who was in the lead for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District and had been fighting to have the results certified, backtracked and called for a new election. Later in the afternoon, the North Carolina State Board of Elections unanimously declared that a new election was needed.
After days of testimony investigating the unresolved midterm election, it became clear that an operative hired by Harris had fraudulently tampered with absentee ballots. Evidence showed that Harris’ campaign had also endeavored to conceal the ballot tampering from the state’s investigation.
To be clear, it was ballot tampering with the campaign operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, going so far as to instruct workers to falsely sign ballots as witnesses or fill in votes for elections that had been left blank before mailing them. Both of those actions are illegal under North Carolina state law.
Those revelations have likely put an end to any aspirations Harris may have had to hold elected office. As state lawmakers passed a new law in December 2018 that mandated that a new primary be held in the case of an uncertified election even if Harris decided to run again, he’d almost certainly lose that primary. Indeed, his initial upset victory in the primary against GOP incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger seems also to have involved tampering with absentee ballots.
Although that’s all bad news for Harris who had, until Thursday, held out hope to take a seat in Washington, it’s worse news for voters who first had their elections tamped with and have also lacked representation and will continue to lack representation until a new election is held.
By running a campaign that engaged in fraudulent vote gathering, Harris has hurt the people of North Carolina’s 9th District, the very people who he claimed he wanted to serve after he initially appeared to have narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.
The state election board, which can call a new election if the basic fairness of the election had been tainted, made the right call. Harris owes the district he had hoped to represent an apology at the very least.