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Mark Harris to meet with NC elections staff to answer ‘any and all’ questions

Who is Mark Harris?

Republican and former pastor Mark Harris was the unofficial winner of the 9th District congressional seat over Dan McCready, but now he's at the center of a political scandal.
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Republican and former pastor Mark Harris was the unofficial winner of the 9th District congressional seat over Dan McCready, but now he's at the center of a political scandal.

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Election fraud investigation

Read more about the investigation into the 9th Congressional District

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Mark Harris, who last week asked the state elections board to certify his disputed win in the 9th Congressional District, said Monday night that he plans to meet with elections staff this week.

“I look forward to sitting down with the staff from the State Board of Elections later this week and answering any and all questions they have,” Harris said in a statement.

“I have always taken great pride in being open and transparent. While I plan to fully comply with the ongoing review process, I am eager to be certified so I can go to Congress and be a voice for the 9th District.”

The statement repeated the Harris campaign’s position that the election results should be certified despite an ongoing investigation into whether absentee ballots were misused as part of get-out-the-vote efforts in two counties.

Harris maintains the state elections board has not disclosed information that suggests enough votes are in question to change his 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready.

But Harris’ statement said he still “encourages and supports a full investigation into any election irregularities in the counties in question.”

The incoming House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, has said the Democratic-led House won’t seat Harris when it convenes Thursday.

The state elections board has twice declined to certify the 9th District election results, citing voting irregularities involving absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties. State investigators are scrutinizing the work of a Bladen County political operative the Harris campaign hired, McCrae Dowless, whose lawyer maintains he has not violated state or federal campaign laws.

Last week, a three-judge panel abruptly dissolved the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, which had scheduled a Jan. 11 hearing into the allegations. McCready’s campaign submitted a list Sunday of 48 potential witnesses to subpoena for the hearing.

Following the court order, Gov. Roy Cooper said he intended to name a five-member interim state board. The state Republican Party said it would refuse to nominate anyone to serve on what it labeled a “Kangaroo Court of Elections.”

A measure passed over Cooper’s veto last week establishes a new elections board effective Jan. 31.

Elections investigators, meanwhile, continue their work.

Harris filed an emergency petition for the elections board to certify the race before it dissolved Friday. In response, the board’s Democratic chair, Joshua Malcolm, accused the Harris campaign of not fully complying with the board’s subpoenas. Investigators continued to try to interview Harris, Malcolm added.

Harris’ attorney issued a statement Friday saying Harris “has cooperated and intends to continue cooperating.”

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