Republican Mark Harris Won’t Run In New North Carolina House Election

Mark Harris listens to the public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District investigation Monday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh.
Juli Leonard/Pool The News & Observer

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in the North Carolina congressional election that gained national election for allegations of election fraud, announced Tuesday that he would not run in the do-over election in the district.

In a statement, Harris cited “the extremely serious [health] condition that I faced in mid-January” and a surgery he said was scheduled for the last week in March as his reasons for not running again. In a recent hearing before the North Carolina State Board of Election, Harris said he’d suffered a severe infection and two strokes in January.

Harris did not mention the election fraud allegations that plagued his campaign, but did endorse Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing in the next election.

In the recent elections board hearing, Harris’ own son testified that the congressional candidate disregarded his warnings about the tactics employed by political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless.

Soon after that testimony, Harris himself joined Democrats in calling for a new election. Harris’ Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, has said he will run in the do-over election.

“Though I thought I was ready to undergo the rigors of this hearing and am getting stronger, I clearly am not, and I struggled this morning with both recall and confusion,” Harris said in the hearing, after detailing his recent medical history. “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.”

He continued: “Through the testimony I’ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It has become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the Ninth District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.”

The bipartisan board subsequently voted unanimously to hold a do-over election. Do-over elections are exceedingly rare, especially at the federal level. A grand jury will now determine whether to bring charges against anyone involved in the election fraud scandal.

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