Mark Harris, a candidate for Congress from North Carolina’s ninth district, has decided to drop out of the race after an election fraud scandal involving his campaign has come to light. Harris made the announcement on his Facebook page.
“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,” he wrote. “I also owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign,” he added.
Harris is due to have surgery at the end of March.
Harris had previously been declared the winner in the North Carolina race. He won by a margin of 49%-48% on Election Day in November. Only 900 votes separated Harris and his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready.
In the ensuing months however, it has been revealed that Harris campaign workers illegally collected absentee ballots voter and then either sealed them, or signed as witnesses, for the voters who had failed to have done so.
North Carolinians voting via absentee ballot are required to have witnesses sign the ballots along with the individual voter.
Harris campaign workers were paid for every ballot they could bring in that were either not sealed or did not have witness signatures on them.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections held four days of hearings on the matter. While no evidence showing Harris sanctioned or even knew of the activities, the board day voted on the final day of the hearings to hold a new election later this year. A specific date has not yet been set.
Harris announced his support for Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, whom he got to know while Harris was campaigning. “I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing,” he wrote.
McCready welcomed the news of a new election and praised the board’s decision.
“Every day that goes by without representation is tragic. We’ve got three-quarters of a million people who have no voice right now because of fraud and cheating conducted by my opponent’s campaign. . . . A lot of people have had their confidence shaken in our electoral system. But we also have confidence now that the process works,” he said.
Photo by Nheyob via Wikimedia Commons