Mark Harris announces campaign for Congress following District 9 controversy

CHARLOTTE — Mark Harris has announced he will be launching his campaign for the Republican nomination for Congress in North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.

The decision, announced Tuesday, follows Congressman Dan Bishop’s announcement to run for Attorney General.

In a statement, Harris says in part that he “fully expects a flurry of lies and rumors from both Democrats and some from my own party. But as these political games play out, I’m focused on the glaring realities of today: the constant climb of of daily living costs, a southern border that remains open, and hardworking Americans suffering from Bidenomics. As a pastor, father, and grandfather, I’m dedicated to prioritizing these challenges for the sake of our nation.”

In July 2020, the Wake County district attorney announced that Harris would not be charged for his role in the absentee ballot operations in Bladen County during the 2018 general election. That announcement was made more than a year after an investigation into ballot fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

During the 2018 election, Harris received 900 more votes in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District than his Democratic challenger, Dan McCready. However, officials said absentee ballots in the district, which includes Bladen and Robeson counties, appeared to be suspicious, launching an election fraud investigation that is still ongoing.

In February 2019, the State Board of Elections announced they would run a new election for the district. Harris later decided not to run.

“I believe a new election should be called. 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,” Harris said at the time of the investigation.

Following that election, Republican Dan Bishop was elected to the seat in September 2019.

It was the highest-profile election to ever be overturned due to election fraud.

At the center of the controversy was political operative McCrae Dowless, who was working for a firm hired by Harris’ campaign.

A Channel 9 investigation found Dowless allegedly paid people to pick up absentee ballots for Harris from voters, which is illegal in North Carolina.

Four years later, Harris is claiming that the scandal was fake and that it was “manufactured as a scandal to steal the election.”

He said he was cleared of any wrongdoing due to Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman deciding not to bring criminal charges against him.

Ultimately, eleven people were charged in connection with this incident, with seven of those people pleading guilty.

Dowless, however, died after a battle with cancer before his case could be tried.

VIDEO: DA: No evidence to charge Mark Harris in NC District 9 election fraud investigation

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