BREAKING NEWS: Mark Harris said during the afternoon testimony before the North Carolina State Board of Elections this afternoon that a re-election was justified in the hotly contested race, which Harris led with 905 votes. Earlier Thursday, Harris said he knew nothing about an alleged electoral manipulation scheme led by an agent he had hired for his 2018 campaign.
This is an evolving story and is updated.
RALEIGH, NC – [19459009RepublicConsultantMarkHarrissuredtherebyneveryoneselectedinNorthCarolinCongressionalCounciladoptionalprocedure
Harris said during the afternoon testimony before the North Carolina State Board of Elections this afternoon that a new election in the hotly contested race was justified, citing Harris with 905 votes. He said he recovered from an infection leading to sepsis and two strokes, and realized that he was not prepared for the "hardships" of this hearing.
"I think a new election should be called," Harris said. gasp out of the listening room in Raleigh. "It has become clear to me that public confidence in the 9th district has been undermined to such an extent that a new election is required."
Earlier Thursday, Harris said he knew nothing of an alleged electoral manipulation scheme led by an agent hired to work in his 21
Harri's testimony came the day after his son, John Harris, a prosecutor, testified of the warnings he had given his father in telephone calls and e-mails in which he believed the employee had violated the law an earlier election.
In his own testimony on Thursday, senior Harris claimed he said in previous interviews with reporters that he did not know any red flags about the perpetrators' alleged tactics – regardless of what his son had said in spring 2017.
Harris said he partially disobeyed his son's advice because John Harris was just 27 at the time, adding that the younger Harris "is a little judgmental and has a small impression of one. " Oblivion and some other things. And I am very proud of him and love him with all my heart.
Harris, a Baptist minister, argued on the fourth day of dramatic hearings that widespread electoral fraud distorted the results in the 9th congressional district, the last undecided congressional race in the country. Harris leads the Democrats Dan McCready with 905 votes.
Harris said he had hired agent Leslie McCrae Dowless on the advice of several Republican friends and colleagues. He said he believed Dowless when he offered to hold an election campaign for Harris' election campaign.
Harris' testimony followed the dramatic opening moments of the hearings on Thursday, in which Josh Lawson, the General Counsel of the State Board of Elections, unveiled a letter in which he rejects Harris's campaign solicitors for having e-mails between Harris and his son 15 minutes before the release of John Harris had not published.
"The timing of your disclosure raises significant and significant concerns about the observance and openness of the committee at now during the hearing," wrote Lawson. He said John Harris & # 39; s subsequent testimony "strongly suggests" that the campaign's explanation – the request for emails was incomplete – was "incorrect".
Lawson also asked Harris if he had had any discussions this week in which understanding his ability to exchange e-mail with his son would not be part of the evidence to be presented at the hearing. Harris said he does not remember – three times at Lawson and once at Marc Elias, the advocate for Harris's Democratic opponent, Dan McCready.
After answering Elijah, Harris' lawyer David Freedman abruptly stood up and asked the chairman of the board. Bob Cordle, if he could speak privately with the board.
Before the hearing closed for this closed session, Harris witnessed how he had met Dowless – the 63-year-old native from Bladen County, Bladen, the center of a suspected electoral manipulation program that has been in the ninth district since November which floated when the board refused to certify a winner and instead opened an investigation. The county runs along the South Carolina border from Charlotte to rural North Carolina.
Dowless was a "good old boy" who "ate, slept and drank" politics and was recommended to him by a former state judge, Harris said. He met Dowless in 2017 at a local furniture store in 9th Ward, and the two sat down on couches with other republicans in the store's showroom, so Dowless could describe his absence motion.
Harris had heard that Dowless had been in charge of the overwhelming majority of electoral voting in the 2016 voting election in the Republican primary for Todd Johnson, which Harris had lost to then-incumbent Robert Pittenger. Harris still knew he'd lost to Pittenger with so few votes, and thought he would have won if he had hired Dowless this year.
"I turned to McCrae and said, 'Well, what makes you so special? ? What do you do? "" Remembers Harris.
Harris said Dowless told him that his surgery was strictly legal. He hired workers to pick up the election forms from the voters, and returned as soon as the right ballots were sent out, helping the voters fill in and send ballots. "We do not touch the ballots," Harris recalled the proverb. Collecting or completing another ballot is a crime in North Carolina.
Harris's statement met with skepticism from some board members. He was asked how Dowless paid his workers for every election form they submitted, and whether that should have indicated a red flag.
Harris demanded very little information about the inner workings of his campaign, which he said were mainly treated by his campaign adviser Andy Yates of the Red Dome Group. Yates graduated on Wednesday for two days.
On Wednesday, younger Harris, who is now 29 years old, gave advice to his father as he considered hiring Dowless to run his poll in the 2018 Congressional race. He expressed similar concerns to Yates, he said. Mark Harris hired Dowless despite the concerns of his son.
At one point during his statement, John Harris & # 39; broke his voice and his father cried.
"I thought that what he did was illegal and I was right," John Harris said about Dowless. He added, "I had no reason to believe that my father actually knew, or that my mother or any other employee of the campaign had knowledge. I think Dowless told them he did not do it, and they believed him.
Investigators also shared an email between father and son, in which the younger Harris wrote: "A good test is when you are with the The whole process is being transmitted by him on the news. "
Harris, a senior executive, said Wednesday that he began picking up absentee ballots in the 9th district in June 2016 when his father narrowly lost Republican preschool.
John Harris described how he scoured the numbers and discovered that mailing ballots for Johnson had arrived "in batches" at county polling stations – which, in his opinion, had met with illegal pickup by campaign workers.
Harris said he then told his father about his suspicions. Dowless, who declined to testify this week to avoid self-incrimination, is accused of doing exactly that in the 2018 cycle – hiring a team of workers to illegally collect, sign, forge, and vote in ballot papers.
Both Yates and Harris denied knowledge about these alleged tactics. In another e-mail from 2016, delivered on Wednesday at the testimony, the two Harrises discussed the anomalies of the year – as well as the irony that Dowless had filed a complaint with state election officials that the Democrats in Bladen He did not like it when the Dems got involved in his business! In early January, Mark Harris said in a television interview to Spectrum News in Raleigh that reports, including one in the Washington Post, warned Dowless's alleged tactics of being untrue
John Harris said he was amazed to hear how little oversight Yates provided to ensure that Dowless was performing the services he was paid for, and was also surprised to hear Yates say he was shocked when Dowless reported alleged tactics when the investigation began in November.
Yates said he was shocked and distraught by the statement, "said the younger Harris Disturbed, less shocked. "
Harris said after warning Yates about Dowless," Andy assured me: 'Yeah, we'll make sure he does what he says he'll do it. & # 39; "
John Harris He emphasized his belief that his parents did not know Dowless's alleged tactics, but he also confirmed that they" wanted to believe "Dowless – perhaps against their better judgment.
The younger Harris asked the electoral authority if he could make a few closing remarks after lawyers ended their interrogation.
"I love my dad and I love my mother," he said, "I definitely have none Vendetta against them, not family values that can be compensated, I think they made mistakes in this process, and they certainly did other things than I would have done. "