North Carolina GOP leader says he's "horrified" by allegations of election fraud

09 December, 2018, 00:29 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • North Carolina candidate paid $428k to consulting firm linked to alleged ballot tampering

While the investigation continues, the elections board has declined to certify the 9th District race, in which Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, according to unofficial results. But election officials have not certified the race due to concerns about irregularities and possible fraud involving mail-in ballots. They repeatedly cast the situation in political terms, asserting that any voting irregularities were not widespread enough to change the outcome of the election.

For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today. "Unless new evidence somehow clears the clouds hanging over this election, the Board of Elections should toss out the 9th District results". Dowless, moreover, may have been running schemes like this for years, financed partially by contributions from the Bladen County Republican Party.

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate who beat Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, paid Red Dome Group $428,911 for campaign consulting and services, the second-most he spent on an individual consultant, through September 30.

They are also investigating the possibility that absentee ballots were gathered in areas considered to be supportive of McCready but never turned in.

The North Carolina Board of Elections is slated to hold an open hearing on or before December 21 to discuss the findings of its investigation.

McCready's move comes after the head of the state Republican Party said he would support a new election in the state's unresolved congressional race if an investigation shows that wrongdoing swayed its outcome.

There are also claims that incomplete ballots were collected and then filled out later, Cohen said. North Carolina law allows someone to turn in an absentee ballot on behalf of a "close relative". The state is investigating claims that a GOP operative may have manipulated ballots.

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The allegations of election fraud in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District are now supported by a devastating amount of evidence.

The investigation seems to center on the get-out-the-vote activities of McCrae Dowless, who worked as a contractor for Harris' chief campaign strategist and who once served prison time for felony fraud. An analysis by the Charlotte Observer found that a low percentage of ballots in the district were returned in comparison with other districts in the state. Harris, the Republican candidate, won more than 60 percent of the absentee vote. The board is unlikely to declare McCready the victor barring clear evidence that he received more votes overall.

"We are not ready to call for a new election yet", Woodhouse said.

Earlier Thursday, state GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse texted a statement to The Associated Press saying that the GOP would back a new election if the state's elections board were to show that absentee ballot issues changed the outcome.

The 9th Congressional District has been represented by a Republican in Washington for more than five decades. Democrats had hoped McCready, an Iraq War veteran, would end the streak, especially after Harris edged U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger in the May GOP primary.

McCready had not commented until Thursday even as other state Democrats, as well as top Dems in the House of Representatives, called for a probe of the allegations and a new election that could again pit McCready against Harris and Libertarian Jeff Scott.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that Republicans should be concerned as well, because Dowless also operated in the GOP primary, and the allegations have significance beyond North Carolina.



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