North Carolina’s 9th district congressional race between Rep. Mark Harris (R-N.C.) and Democratic candidate Dan McCready just got a little bit more interesting. McCready, in response to the allegations that a Harris campaign contractor had workers go around and collect absentee ballots so that they could be altered or destroyed, has withdrawn his concession in the race.
“Over the last week we have seen the criminal activity come to light and we have seen that my opponent Mark Harris has bankrolled this criminal activity,” he told WSOC. “As of today, I am withdrawing my concession to Mark Harris. And furthermore, I call on Mark Harris to tell the American people what he knew and when he knew it.
As Law&Crime’s Colin Kalmbacher previously reported, WSOC’s investigative reporter Joe Bruno reached out to several individuals in Bladen County who signed as witnesses for multiple absentee voters. Ginger Eason was one of them. She was listed as the witness of record on 28 separate absentee ballots in Bladen County. When asked why her name appeared so many times on those ballots, she said, “I was helping McCrae pick up ballots.”
Eason was referring to Harris campaign contractor Leslie McCrae Dowless. Dowless denied wrongdoing, but, according to Eason, Dowless paid her between $75 and $100 per week to collect ballots for the Harris campaign.
The Washington Post described one of the allegations this way:
Among the allegations is that an individual who worked for the Harris campaign coordinated an effort to collect and fill in, or discard, the ballots of Democratic voters who might have otherwise voted for McCready. Several of the affidavits come from elderly African American voters. It is illegal to take someone else’s ballot, whether to turn it in or discard it.
Cheryl Kinlaw said she was also paid $100 by Dowless to collect absentee ballots from certain voters for the Harris campaign but didn’t think it was illegal because it was something that Dowless apparently “has been doing for years.” Maybe eight years.
North Carolina’s State Board of Elections and Ethics Reform quite notably did not certify the results of the election, which Harris purportedly won narrowly. After that, the allegations of fraud came to light.
Harris, for his part, has not yet commented on the news, but the Republican Party officials in the state appear to be standing by him.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Image via Twitter screengrab]
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