Mark Harris Will Not Run in North Carolina’s 9th District Special Election

Mark Harris, Republican candidate in North Carolin's 9th Congressional race, and his wife, Beth Harris, walk into the courtroom before he made a statement before the state board of elections calling for a new election during the fourth day of a public evidentiary hearing on the 9th district's voting irregularities investigation on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh, N.C. (Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

February 27, 2019

By Simone Pathe

WASHINGTON — Less than a week after his surprise call for a new election in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republican Mark Harris announced he will not be a candidate in that contest.

Harris, the 2018 GOP nominee for the seat, cited health reasons and noticeably didn’t mention the election fraud scandal that was the subject of last week’s dramatic evidentiary hearing before the North Carolina State Board of Elections. He led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes after last fall’s election, but the board refused to certify the result because of allegations that a contractor for the Harris campaign had tampered with absentee ballots.

On the final day of last week’s hearing into that absentee ballot operation, Harris took the stand and abruptly called for a new election, blaming his health for his having given inaccurate testimony earlier in the day.

Harris is scheduled to have surgery at the end of March.

“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 in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon.

He said he owed it to his family to take care of his health. “I also owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign,” he added.

The 9th District is likely to host a crowded Republican primary.

Harris announced his support for Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, whom he said he got to know while campaigning in the 9th District.

“I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing,” Harris wrote.

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