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Mark Harris: 'I Was Absolutely Unaware Of Any Wrongdoing'

Mark Harris
Mark Harris for Congress

Republican Mark Harris released a video on Friday afternoon in which he said he was "absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing" in the 9th Congressional District race.

Harris also said that if the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement investigation "finds proof of illegal activity on either side that could change the outcome," he would "wholeheartedly support a new election."

Harris is leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. McCready said Thursday he was withdrawing his concession in the race, and he said political operatives in Bladen County had engaged in "shameful criminal activity, bankrolled by my opponent to take away North Carolinian’s very rights to vote."

McCready was referring to Bladen County political operative McCrae Dowless, who was hired by the Red Dome Group to turn out voters in support of Harris's campaign. Dowless focused on getting people to vote with absentee mail ballots.

But numerous voters in Bladen County have said that they turned over their completed ballots to people working for Dowless — which is known as harvesting. That's illegal.

The state board of elections said Friday that it has issued subpoenas for documents to the Red Dome Group, the Mark Harris for Congress Committee and the James Atlas McVicker Committee. McVicker is Bladen County's Sheriff. The board also confirmed Dowless is a person of interest in its investigation. 

The board said Friday it will hold an evidentiary hearing as "soon as possible." It had previously said it would hold the hearing on or before Dec. 21.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.