UPDATED: 2:51 p.m. EDT, Feb. 26 — The North Carolina Republican candidate for Congress who all but confessed to election fraud in the midterm election that still has not been called has decided against running again. Mark Harris made his decision public on Tuesday afternoon, according to a new report from the Associated Press.
“In a statement, Mark Harris said Tuesday he’s skipping the upcoming re-do election in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district for health reasons,” the AP reported. “Harris says he needs surgery that’s scheduled for late March.”
The report continued: “He did not mention the alleged ballot fraud scandal.”
As a result, Harris has endorsed a Republican candidate named Stony Rushing to run in his stead. The image of Rushing’s campaign photo made the rounds on social media Tuesday afternoon and showed the candidate standing in an all-white suit and holding a gun, evoking imagery of Boss Hogg, the fictional police chief from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show.
A North Carolina Republican’s campaign was caught using illegal tactics to steal a congressional race. But instead of preparing to face justice for the crimes, Mark Harris is getting ready for another run for Congress.
North Carolina election officials ordered a new contest on Thursday for the state’s 9th Congressional District after the GOP candidate all but confessed to election fraud when confronted with evidence, the New York Times reported.
Here’s Harris calling for a new election:
During a weeklong hearing, the five-member board of elections exposed his campaign’s illegal activities in the disputed 2018 congressional race in which Harris was initially declared the winner by just 905 votes.
Harris took the stand on Thursday after the case against his campaign was laid bare for the world to see. He denied knowledge of any wrongdoing but was tripped up during questioning and appeared to mislead the board. Despite his denials, Harris’ guilt seemed obvious when he called for a fresh election.
It appears that he will walk away without facing legal consequences, unlike people like Crystal Mason, a Black woman who convicted and sent to prison in Texas for unknowingly casting an illegal ballot.
On Feb. 18, a political operative working for Harris admitted to election officials that she illegally picked up and falsified absentee ballots as part of the scheme to help Harris steal the 2018 midterm election, CNN reported.
Harris was fighting off the Democratic wave in his district to keep a congressional seat that Republicans held for more than half a century. He had a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready after the ballots were counted. However, the state board of elections declined to certify Harris as the winner because of absentee balloting irregularities.
Election officials and witnesses at the hearing said that the scheme may have involved more than 1,000 absentee ballots or request forms. Republican operatives were accused of forging signatures, completing ballots and mailing them from post offices near the voter’s home.
Lisa Britt, a felon who had illegally cast her own ballot, admitted on the witness stand that she illegally collected between 35 and 40 absentee ballots in violation of state law. A consulting firm working for Harris paid her at least $150 per 50 absentee ballots she collected.
This is Britt testifying:
For people Mason, an African-American mother of three, there is no mercy. She was sentenced twice, once for violating state law and once for violating federal law.
First, she was sentenced in March 2018 to serve five years in prison for violating Texas’ voter laws. As a former convict at the time, she was ineligible to vote under state regulations. By casting a ballot in the November 2016 election, she was in violation of a law that many ex-convicts are unaware of.
That state voter fraud conviction led to a federal judge giving Mason the second sentence in August to 10 months in prison plus probation for violating the terms of her supervised release from federal prison for tax fraud.
Mark Harris, on the other hand, gets to run again for office.