North Carolina Republican Mark Harris calls for new election amid fraud allegations

By Emily Tillett

/ CBS News

N. Carolina election fraud hearing begins

Republican candidate Mark Harris said Thursday that a new election in North Carolina's disputed 9th Congressional District is needed, despite having apparently won that race. He made the statement after days of testimony in an election fraud hearing currently rocking the state. Harris narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes in November, but a contractor working for Harris' campaign, convicted felon Leslie McCrae Dowless, is accused of illegally collecting hundreds of absentee ballots during the race, throwing the true outcome into question.

McCready withdrew his concession to Harris amid charges his defeat was due to fraud.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have since been probing allegations of election fraud in two counties. The state Board of Elections has twice declined to certify a winner in the 9th District.

Harris' own son even testified during the hearing that he raised concerns early in the campaign after his father met with Dowless. John Harris described the contractor as a "shady" character, and testified that he had expressed his concerns to his father about Dowless illegally collecting ballots.

"I told him that collecting ballots was a felony and I would send him the statute that collecting ballots was felony," the younger Harris said.

During the hearing, the elder Harris said he's been struggling with recall and confusion due to medical illnesses such as strokes. He didn't say whether he'd run in the new election.

This is a developing story.

CBS News' David Begnaud contributed to this report.

First published on February 21, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Tillett

Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital

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