So Harris is singing a different tune this week.
Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, issued a video Friday saying he would “wholeheartedly support” a new election if evidence emerges that criminal activity swayed the outcome of the Nov. 6 race.
“If this investigation finds proof of illegal activity on either side to such a level that it could have changed the outcome of the election, then I would wholeheartedly support a new election to ensure all voters have confidence in the results” Harris said in the video.
But get out of town! Harris’ statement about “illegal activity on either side” is such BS. The only side that has demonstrated illegal activity is his side.
His qualification that a redo election will only be needed if the level of illegal activity may have affected the outcome is also BS. There is now little doubt that this was an organized criminal effort to tamper with ballots. The group had its own office and a staff of at least several people. The evidence so far shows that it involved tampering with hundreds of ballots – and we don’t even know yet how many votes for Harris’ opponent may simply have been thrown in the trash. Harris’ lead was only 904 votes so there is already ample cause to believe a redo election is the only possible redress. Yes, it’s true that we do need to see the completion of an official investigation, but in the meantime, Harris’ current position statement is way out of line with what’s already been reported.
In fact, there’s some reason to believe that in a redo election, Harris might be campaigning from jail.
Harris’s chief consultant, Andy Yates of the Red Dome Group, said in a statement Monday that Harris, a pastor from the suburbs of Charlotte, “was aware of Red Dome’s relationship with Mr. Dowless and believes like I do that Mr. Dowless operated within the bounds of the law.” Yates said Dowless assured him he was not illegally collecting ballots.
Dowless, who is at the center of the scandal, has been suspected of ballot tampering in the past (see the Daily Beast and Rachel Maddow reports above). And Dowless’ boss says Harris knew that Dowless was working on his campaign – so the real question becomes “What did Harris know and when did he know it?”
And now there’s this:
The campaign of North Carolina Republican Mark Harris still owed more than $53,000 after last month’s election to a consulting firm at the center of an absentee ballot effort that has sparked allegations of fraud and could trigger a new House election, new filings show.
More than $34,000 of Harris’ debt to Red Dome Group centered on a “reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee” work and other election efforts, according to a post-election report Harris’ campaign filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.
Red Dome hired Leslie McCrae Dowless, a veteran political operative, to work on the get-out-the-vote operation on Harris’ behalf. Dowless, who pleaded guilty to federal insurance fraud in 1992, is now at the center of state and local investigations probing whether absentee ballots were used to alter the results in Bladen County, where Harris won 96% of the absentee vote.
Red Dome’s owner says Harris knew that he had hired Dowless to work on Harris’ campaign (see article at start of this post). So Harris’ involvement in this scandal is looking shadier and shadier.
And, considering that we know Red Dome’s owner hired an operative who was a convicted felon and who had allegedly tampered with ballots in the past (again, see the previous posts), then what other dubious ballot manipulation might Red Dome be capable of? They performed over half a million dollars’ worth of work for Harris.
Red Dome officials did not immediately respond to inquiries Friday. In all, Harris spent more than $500,000 with Red Dome over the course of the election cycle.