District 9 candidate Mark Harris wanted to hire McCrae Dowless, Washington Post reports

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. — The Washington Post is reporting that District 9 congressional candidate Mark Harris is the one who wanted to hire the man who is now at the center of the election fraud investigation.

[SPECIAL SECTION: District 9 investigation]

The Post said Harris actually sought out McCrae Dowless after Dowless had great success with absentee ballots for one of Harris' opponents in 2016.

The Post does not mention whether Harris knew exactly how Dowless achieved such success.

Past coverage

Officials said the new information is coming from three people familiar with Harris' campaign.

According to the Post, Harris hired Dowless despite warnings about his criminal record and Dowless' own public testimony describing questionable election tactics.

Dowless is accused of hiring people to illegally collect absentee ballots.

Candidates told Channel 9 there was never any doubt how Dowless operated.

Sabrina Murchison was a Democratic school board candidate in 2016. She said Dowless wanted to be her campaign manager, but she refused to hire him when he allegedly told her to illegally collect ballots.

[READ: School board candidate says McCrae Dowless asked her to collect absentee ballots]

"He wanted me to go out and get the absentee ballots," said Murchison.

The state board of elections is investigating before deciding whether a new election is necessary. The board is expected to review the evidence in a hearing next week.

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