Speed Reads


GOP candidate's son says he warned him about North Carolina political operative embroiled in scandal

The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified in front of the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Wednesday that he cautioned his father against hiring a political operative who used illegal tactics in earlier elections.

The Board of Elections is investigating allegations of voter fraud in November's election in the 9th Congressional District; the race is still undecided, with Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. John Harris, an assistant U.S. attorney in North Carolina, testified that he told his father that he believed political operative McCrae Dowless illegally collected absentee ballots while working for another Republican candidate in 2016. Despite his son's warning, Mark Harris hired Dowless for his 2018 campaign.

On Monday, Dowless' stepdaughter testified that he hired her to collect absentee ballots, and when she picked up a ballot that was unsealed or not fully filled out, she would mark the Republican candidates. John Harris said he has "no reason to believe that my father or mother knew Dowless was doing the things that have been described. I think they were lied to, and they believed the person who lied to them." Mark Harris, who has said he knew nothing about Dowless' tactics, is expected to testify on Thursday.

If the board decides that "irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness," a new election will be held.