Politics

North Carolina Elections Board Unanimously Orders New Election In 9th Congressional District

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

North Carolina’s Board of Elections unanimously ordered a new election in the state’s 9th Congressional District due to “corruption” and “illegal activity… involving absentee ballots” after four days of hearings that drew to a close Thursday.

The board decided that neither Republican Mark Harris nor Democrat Dan McCready gained victory in the 2018 midterm election after allegations that Harris campaign operatives illegally harvested ballots, reported Politico Thursday.

The race was the only 2018 midterm election that had not been certified. Harris, a former pastor, had an unofficial lead of roughly 900 votes.

The board came to a decision after Harris testified and said a new election was needed. (RELATED: Tears In The Courtroom As Son Of GOP’s Mark Harris Contradicts Him During Ballot Harvesting Hearing)

“Through the testimony I’ve listened to over the last three days, I believe a new election should be called,” Harris said. “It has become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.”

Harris did not finish his testimony Thursday because of recent health problems. His son, 29-year-old John Harris, had testified Wednesday that he had warned his father about a “shady” political operative.

Republican Congressional candidate for North Carolina's 9th district Mark Harris (C), addresses the crowd as President Donald Trump (L) and Republican Congressional candidate for North Carolina's 13th district Ted Budd (R), listen at the Bojangles Coliseum on October 26, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Republican Congressional candidate for North Carolina’s 9th district Mark Harris (C), addresses the crowd as President Donald Trump (L) and Republican Congressional candidate for North Carolina’s 13th district Ted Budd (R), listen at the Bojangles Coliseum on October 26, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

That operative was McCrae Dowless, who worked for the Harris campaign as a contractor through the political consulting firm Red Dome Group. Dowless orchestrated an illegal ballot-harvesting operation in the 2018 election, North Carolina’s elections director Kim Strach said at a hearing Monday.

It is unclear whether Harris will run again. Also unclear: the timing and exact process for the new election, according to ABC News.

“The State Board will set the dates of the election at a subsequent meeting,” the board wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

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