Given my health situation, the need to regain full strength, and the timing of this surgery the last week of March, I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously Thursday to order a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District after Harris’ stunning call for a new election. Earlier that day, Harris said he knew nothing of an alleged ballot tampering scheme led by a campaign contractor he hired for his 2018 campaign. After abruptly calling for a lunch break, Harris called for a new election and said that he misspoke during his earlier testimony due to the fact that he is recovering from an illness. “I believe a new election should be called,” Harris told the Carolina State Board of Elections, adding “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.”
Also on Thursday his son John Harris testified about the warnings he offered his father that he believe a contractor had broken the law in a previous election. The elder Harris said he didn’t follow his son’s advice in part because his son was young and that he is “a little judgmental and has a little taste of arrogance and some other things. And I’m very proud of him and love him with all my heart.”
The twist is the latest turn in an ongoing saga in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Harris, a Baptist minister, has led Democrat Dan McCready by 950 votes, but the State Board of Elections has refused to certify the results. Instead, the board launched an investigation into allegations of tampering with absentee ballots stemming from Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political contractor Harris personally hired. For months, Democrats have demanded that a new election be called, arguing that ballot tampering allegations had undermined the election results. Republicans pushed back, stating that the amount of absentee ballots effected was not enough to sway the outcome of the race. The State Board of Elections will set the dates of the election at a later meeting.