North Carolina congressional candidate withdraws concession

Dan McCready

Modal Trigger Dan Mc Cready AP

McCready trailed Harris by 905 votes in the race to replace the outgoing Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC).

Led by the president, Republicans nationwide have long cast themselves as victims of voter fraud. And the fact that Harris managed to win a whopping 96% of all Bladen County absentee ballots that actually made it to election officials is a big red flag, too.

Multiple sworn affidavits, interviews of ballot harvesters, and the freaky numbers for absentee election returns suggest that GOP candidate Mark Harris, with the help of local strategist Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., paid people to visit elderly black voters in Bladen and Robeson Counties, take their absentee ballots and deliver them to the campaign - and over 1,000 ballots may have been destroyed, more than the 905-vote margin by which Harris won the race.

Accusations of fraud have hung up results in the state's 9th Congressional District, potentially leaving the outcome in the hands of the incoming House Democratic majority. "But it is not likely that would happen", Dallas Woodhouse, North Carolina Republican Party executive director, wrote in an email.

"I have been studying Southern politics for 30 years and North Carolina politics for 15, and I have never seen anything like that", Bitzer said. If accurate, those results would mean every unaffiliated absentee voter, as well as some Democrats, went for the Republican.

Another North Carolina Republican operative, granted anonymity to speak candidly, acknowledged that there's "a bit of a role reversal going on here".

Dozens of absentee ballots were witnessed by four people in Robeson County, which is adjacent to Bladen County - the place investigations by the state elections board and state and local prosecutors had been focused. That day, The Associated Press also retracted its call that Harris had won, adding that it was "treating the board's action as if the race has proceeded to a recount".

"The House Administration Committee will have full investigative authority to determine the victor of the election", Pelosi added. "He has not been certified yet, they have refused to certify him". Hoyer said Harris is "not eligible for being sworn into the House" at this point.

The state could order a new election.

But Republicans have argued that any irregularities are not widespread enough to make a difference in the ultimate outcome of the race. The board is unlikely to declare McCready the victor barring clear evidence that he received more votes overall.

However, he said that if the outcome would not have been changed, the Republican candidate should be certified the victor. "Certifying the race is not related to continuing a criminal investigation or multiple criminal investigations, which are obviously going to need to continue". His support included a complaint by Dowless, a political operative and convicted felon, who claimed there was voting fraud in Bladen County, in the state's southeast.

In affidavits offered by the state Democratic Party, some Bladen County voters have described that people came to their homes to collect their absentee ballots, whether or not they had been fully completed or sealed in an envelope to keep them from being altered.

A very close North Carolina congressional race still hasn't been settled nearly a month after Election Day, amid an investigation into alleged absentee ballot fraud that has raised questions about the credibility of the tallied outcome.

But in recent days, with more evidence surfacing of absentee ballot fraud, including the possible destruction of ballots from Democrats, McCready withdrew his concession on Thursday, accusing Harris of knowingly supporting 'criminal activity'. In Robeson County, McCready won the overall mail-in absentee vote, but the 62 percent non-return rate was remarkably higher than any other county in the district. A different group, she said, dropped off batches of hundreds of voter registration applications and vote-by-mail requests from August to October. It is illegal to collect or tamper with someone else's ballot. "Let me just leave it at that". He has denied any wrongdoing to The Charlotte Observer. The president raised the specter of fraud again this year, suggesting without evidence that people had donned disguises to vote a couple of times in midterm elections.

"Per usual, Governor Cooper takes a bad situation and makes it worse by continuing to erode confidence in the neutrality of the board", North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement released Monday, calling Cordle "another hyper-partisan Democrat". It voted 7-2 last week to investigate the vote in the 9th District.

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