GOP House candidate in N.C. would back new election if fraud shown
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Republican candidate in North Carolina’s unresolved congressional race said Friday that he would support a new election if it’s proved that fraud changed the outcome of a contest that was decided by 905 votes.
Mark Harris released a video statement addressing allegations of absentee ballot fraud less than a day after his campaign acknowledged in a federal filing that it owes $34,310 to a political consultant for work in a county where mail-in ballot problems emerged. The state Board of Elections has refused to certify election results that give Harris a slim lead while it investigates.
“If this investigation finds proof of illegal activity — on either side — to such a level that it could have changed the outcome of the election, then I would wholeheartedly support a new election to ensure all voters have confidence in the results,” Harris said in the video.
He also said his campaign is cooperating with the investigation by the state board but added: “I was absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing.”
A Federal Election Commission filing by the Harris campaign late Thursday referred to money owed to the Red Dome Group for debts including: “Reimbursement Payment for Bladen Absentee, Early Voting Poll Workers; Reimbursement Door to Door.”
Bladen County’s absentee ballots are at the center of a fraud probe that prompted the state elections board to refuse last week to certify Harris as the winner over Democrat Dan McCready in the state’s 9th District. The board cited allegations of “irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities” involving mail-in ballots, and subpoenaed both the Harris campaign and Red Dome for documents.
The board could order a new election after meeting later this month to consider evidence. The vote count remains unofficial, with Harris leading McCready by 905 votes in the district stretching from the Charlotte area east through several counties.