fog.png
Monday November 18th, 2019 9:48AM

North Carolina candidate asks for new congressional election

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Republican candidate in the nation's last undecided congressional race abruptly dropped his bid to be declared the winner and instead called for a new election Thursday, after investigators detailed evidence of ballot fraud by political operatives working for him.

Mark Harris informed the North Carolina elections board of his decision on the fourth day of a hearing on whether to certify the results of the November contest.

"Through the testimony I've listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called," he said. "It's 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."

At the same time, Harris denied any knowledge of the illegal practices allegedly used by operatives on his payroll.

Harris left the hearing room without answering questions. It was not immediately clear whether he intends to run in a new election.

The decision on whether to hold a new election rests with the five-member election board, which did not immediately hold a vote on the matter.

Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of about 280,000 cast last fall in a mostly rural district along the southern edge of the state. But the state refused to certify the outcome as allegations surfaced that Harris political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless may have tampered with mail-in absentee ballots.

The congressional seat has been in Republican hands since 1963.

Harris made the surprising reversal after his lawyers argued to the board that he should be certified the winner.

North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse said he learned of Harris' decision only minutes before. "There's no way that anybody has contemplated what's next," he said.

Harris told the board that he is still dealing from health problems caused by a blood infection that landed him in a hospital and led to two strokes since the election, adding, "I struggled this morning with both recall and confusion."

But he insisted: "Neither I nor any of the leadership of my campaign were aware of or condoned the improper activities that have been testified to in this hearing."

According to testimony and other findings detailed at the board hearing, Dowless conducted an illegal "ballot harvesting" operation while working for Harris. Dowless and his assistants helped voters obtain absentee ballots and then gathered up the filled-in ballots from them by offering to put them in the mail, the board was told.

Dowless' workers in rural Bladen County testified that they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots from voters, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates. It is generally against the law in North Carolina for anyone other than the voter or a family member to handle someone's completed ballot.

Earlier Thursday, Harris testified that Dowless had assured him that he wouldn't collect absentee ballots in violation of state law. "I'll never forget. He said it again and again. He said, 'We do not take the ballot,'" Harris testified.

___

Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio .

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General House Election News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fendi honors Lagerfeld and fashion's 'longest love story'
Fendi has paid understated tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, who died this week and was the Rome-based fashion house's creative director for 54 years
7:06PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Cohen visits Senate offices ahead of congressional testimony
Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, visited the Senate intelligence committee's offices on Thursday, meeting with his lawyers in preparation for three days of congressional testimony next week
6:53PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Feds: El Chapo's sons indicted on drug conspiracy charges
Two sons of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman have been indicted on drug conspiracy charges
6:41PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Michael Jackson estate lawsuit sues HBO over documentary
The estate of Michael Jackson sues HBO over a documentary about two men who accuse the late pop superstar of molesting them when they were boys
6:25PM ( 56 minutes ago )
The Latest: Smollett quiet after posting bond, leaving jail
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has been released from jail after posting bond. Smollett walked out of the Cook County jail in Chicago on Thursday about two hours after a hearing in which the judge set his bond at $100,000
6:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
A look at why brothers in alleged hoax appear off the hook
Two brothers who played key roles in what Chicago police say was a staged attack on Jussie Smollett are so far walking away legally unscathed
6:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Polygraph launched probe of deputy suspected in sex assaults
A Nebraska sheriff's deputy charged with sexually assaulting a woman more than a decade ago now is linked to at least five other victims before he joined the department in 2015
5:02PM ( 2 hours ago )
Threat allegations keep Coast Guard officer jailed
Federal authorities say a Coast Guard officer who espoused white supremacist views and dreamed of mass murder drew up a computer-spreadsheet hit list of Democratic politicians and TV journalists
4:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
Brigade of volunteers vow to bring aid to Venezuela's needy
President Nicolas Maduro deploys missiles and infantryman to the border bracing for what he claims is a U.S. coup plot disguised as humanitarian aid, as his opponents rally their own troops
4:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Cohen talking to Senate panel Tuesday, kicking off busy week
President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify behind closed doors to the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter
5:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Evictions, rent hikes push Oregon to statewide rent control
Oregon is poised to become the first U.S. state to impose mandatory rent controls
5:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Judge imposes gag order on Trump confidant Stone
A judge has imposed a full gag order on Trump confidant Roger Stone after he posted a photo on Instagram of the judge with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun
4:11PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: GOP candidate says new election should be called
The Republican in the country's last undecided congressional race is ending his bid to be declared a winner and calling for a new election to be held
3:03PM ( 4 hours ago )
GOP candidate says he was assured of operative's methods
The Republican in the country's last undecided congressional election testified Thursday that a political operative now accused of ballot fraud assured him he wouldn't collect absentee ballots in violation of state law
12:27PM ( 6 hours ago )
N Carolina US House candidate faces questions over choices
The Republican narrowly leading the country's last undecided congressional election wants North Carolina elections officials to overlook ballot manipulation in a rural county and declare him the winner
1:16AM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Elections
N. Carolina elections board calls challenged House candidate
The Republican holding a slim lead in the country's last undecided congressional election is expected to explain why he stuck with a political operative with a shady track record that even the GOP candidate thought about protesting in the past
9:58AM ( 1 day ago )
Consultant on North Carolina race: Methods were surprise
A North Carolina political contractor hired to run the campaign of a Republican congressional candidate said he had no idea that ballots were being collected by unauthorized persons
7:48PM ( 1 day ago )
Key players in disputed congressional race in North Carolina
The investigation into ballot fraud allegations in the nation's last undecided congressional race involves a mix of characters, including a nationally known election lawyer and a local political operative suspected of illegal practices
3:53PM ( 2 days ago )
General House Election News
Fendi honors Lagerfeld and fashion's 'longest love story'
Fendi has paid understated tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, who died this week and was the Rome-based fashion house's creative director for 54 years
7:06PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Cohen visits Senate offices ahead of congressional testimony
Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, visited the Senate intelligence committee's offices on Thursday, meeting with his lawyers in preparation for three days of congressional testimony next week
6:53PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Feds: El Chapo's sons indicted on drug conspiracy charges
Two sons of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman have been indicted on drug conspiracy charges
6:41PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Smollett reactions epitomize polarized state of US politics
Reactions to police assertion that Jussie Smollett staged the attack on himself reflect the polarized state of political discourse in US
6:35PM ( 46 minutes ago )
2 women accuse R. Kelly of sexual misconduct in 1990s
Two women say singer R. Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage and had sex with one of the teens although she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent
6:29PM ( 52 minutes ago )