North Carolina Election Saga Continues as State Board Sets Date for Election Re-Do
The ongoing saga in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District will drag on until at least September 10, after the state Elections Board unanimously voted on Monday to re-do the election.
Last November’s general election saw Republican Mark Harris beat Democrat Dan McCready by a razor-thin 905 votes, but was tainted by a sophisticated absentee ballot fraud scheme by Harris’ consultant Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr.
A new primary to decide who will compete for the seat will be held May 14, with the general election or runoff primary scheduled for September 10. If the runoff primary is required, the general election will be held on November 5.
Campaign filings begin next week.
Dan McCready has already announced his intent to run again and has been vigorously fundraising.
In a tweet last Friday, McCready wrote, “To everyone who defended the voters in #NC09, thank you! Together we stood up to fraud and we fought for every vote. But now our fight continues and we cannot take anything for granted.”
Mark Harris announced last week that he will not be running again, citing family and health issues. Other high-profile Republicans, including former Rep. Robert Pittenger, the incumbent defeated by Harris in last year’s primary, and former Governor Pat McCrory, have both announced they will not be running, setting up a wide open primary.
In Harris’ email to supporters last week announcing his decision not to run, he threw his support behind Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing. Rushing, a colorful character known for his white suit, white hat, and always present cigar, was profiled in the Washington Post recently as a real-life “Boss Hogg,” the despotic and bumbling commissioner in the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
At the center of the controversy is a political consultant named Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., hired by Mark Harris to work on the campaign’s absentee ballot strategy and get-out-the-vote operation. The 61-year old former felon has been in and around North Carolina politics for awhile, but was long registered as a Democrat before switching parties after the 2016 election. Following his party change, he helped Mark Harris narrowly win the 2018 Republican primary over incumbent Robert Pittenger and led the absentee ballot campaign for Mark Harris in the general election against Dan McCready.
Dowless was arrested last Wednesday after being indicted for three felony charges of obstruction of justice, two charges of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and two charges of possession of absentee ballot.
Kim Westbrook Strach, North Carolina State Board executive director, released a statement following the arrest, “These indictments should serve as a stern warning to anyone trying to defraud elections in North Carolina. Today is a new and better day for elections in our state.”
In The News
WASHINGTON — Election officials have just weeks left to ensure that their states can handle a surge of mail-in votes in November in the face of fierce opposition from President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress. With just a little more than five months to Election... Read More
WASHINGTON — Facing a potentially difficult path to reelection, President Donald Trump on Tuesday expanded his attacks on states using mail-in ballots, a scorched-earth campaign that could undermine confidence in the democratic process as the novel coronavirus threatens to make in-person voting more dangerous. The president... Read More
A former elections judge in Philadelphia pleaded guilty to accepting cash and "other things of value" in return for tampering with the results of city primary elections over several years, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Domenick J. Demuro pleaded guilty to “conspiring to deprive persons of... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmation of Texas lawyer James “Trey” Trainor III to the Federal Election Commission means the beleaguered campaign finance agency now will have a quorum to hold meetings and conduct official business. But even so, don’t expect a whirlwind of enforcement action. The... Read More
WASHINGTON — An unprecedented shift in American democracy is underway, as more states and counties turn to voting by mail. But as jurisdictions prepare for a pandemic-riddled presidential election, the threat of a financial crisis at the U.S. Postal Service looms over that alternative to in-person... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Readers of The Wall Street Journal saw an unusual, but timely advertisement in its pages this week -- an open letter urging them to encourage their employees to seek absentee ballots or vote early in person to avoid any lingering threat posed by the... Read More