Republican Mark Harris was before Democrat Dan McCready of only 905 votes after the vote was counted. But state officials…
Republican Mark Harris was before Democrat Dan McCready of only 905 votes after the vote was counted. But state officials are now investigating allegations that the absentee voices were manipulated, many of which were signed by the same small group of people – an unusual pattern that could indicate undue activity. Add that mix a local-known Republican consultant who was previously convicted of fraud and an absent-minded collector who claims she was paid and you have a nightmare of confusion – as the congressional seat is in balance.
Our conversation, via email and easily edited for flow, is below.
Cillizza: Let’s get started easily: What’s the matter with the absentee polls in Bladen County and what do we know like right now?
Bruno: Bipartisan North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics investigates “allegations of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee ballots by post and possibly other issues in the 9th Congressional Competition.”
The board consists of four Republicans, four Democrats and an unaffiliated member. The first vote to examine the requirements and not confirm the results were unanimous. The second ballot was 7-2, with two Republicans voting no. So far, all board discussions have been in the end session, so the irregularities are still unclear. But discs I’ve gotten more light on what happened.
Six affidavits that I received last week go into detail about unusual and illegal activities around absentee valor. One person claims that a woman came to her house to retrieve her absentee-from-voting vote. When the woman picked up the vote, it was turned off and the voter did not sign it. Another person also claims that a woman came to pick up her voice. The elector chose only two breeds and claims that the woman said she would not worry about the rest of them and that she would do it for her. Other contractual explanations go into detail about absence-to-mail valor that the voters did not request. Finally, two affidavits present us to the man who seems to be at the heart of this study, Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr.
Cillizza: Who is Leslie McCrae Dowless – and what do we know about his role in the Harris campaign? 19659012] Bruno: Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. is vice president of the Bladen County Soil and Water Conservation District, a chosen position. He is also a whaler with a criminal past. His criminal record dates back to the 80’s and 90’s. He was sentenced to lead useless control, fraud and fraud. He served six months behind bars. As I mentioned, McCrae’s name occurred because of the explanations. An affidavit claims that he heard McCrae would pay $ 40,000 if Mark Harris won. In another affidavit, one person tells McCrae that he did “absent” for Mark Harris and Jim McVicker, Bladen County Sheriff. Affidavit also says that McCrae had 80 people working for him from Cumberland to Charlotte.
McCrae is well-known in Bladen County’s political circles. Campaign funding reports show that his political commitment goes back to at least 2010 when he worked for a lawyer in Bladen County. A majority of the payments to him were to “get out the vote” efforts. The candidate he worked for won Bladen County. In the next few years, McCrae paid thousands of dollars of candidates in eastern North Carolina to gain voting rights. But he worked not only for Eastern NC candidates. Record shows that he was paid $ 800 by a Charlotte City Council candidate named Pete Givens for “consulting fees”. Givens and Harris are close friends. According to Charlotte Observer, Harris Givens introduced McCrae.
McCrae was not always at the Mark Harris team. Campaign Finance Records show that McCrae worked for Todd Johnson in 2016 Republican Primary for the 9th District. Johnson drove to Commander Robert Pittenger and Harris. Johnson last ended in primary but first in Bladen County. A deeper look at the votes shows that Johnson received 98% of the votes from absentee to a total of 221. Mark Harris received four votes. The incoming Robert Pittenger received a voice.
In 2018, McCrae was employed by Red Dome, a political consulting firm working for the Harris campaign based in Charlotte suburbs. The company has paid at least $ 428,000 from the Harris campaign. Payouts are listed for administrators and staff and grassroots levels. In 2018, Harris received more than four suspended votes in Bladen County. In the same way as Johnson, Harris set great abentee city-number in the primary of Bladen County. Harris received 437 out of 456 absentee votes. The incoming pittare received only 17.
In the election to McCready, Harris received 61% of the votes from absent to Bladen County. The leaves were the only county in the 9th district where Harris received more absentee-to-vote votes than McCready. An analysis of Dr. Michael Bitzer of Catawba College found “In Bladen County”, 61% of the approved absentee votes voted Republican – the only county to do so, which means that along with almost 20% of loyal registered Republicans who voted for it This method would also have Harris received almost all registered unaffected voters and / or some democratic registered voters to make it 62% of the vote. “
So what happens here? Well, as I mentioned earlier, affidavits claimed that people went around to get the shutdown posts. A voter I interviewed who did not sign an affidavit, Stacy Holcomb, told me that the woman who picked up His vote was wearing a Mark Harris T-shirt.
Cillizza: The two candidates are separated by more than 900 votes. Do we have any sense of how widespread this potential absentee polls were? Could it reverse the result?
Bruno: In addition to NC-09, NCSBE refused to sign two local competitions in Bladen and Robeson County so that we get an idea of where the scope of the survey is. There were more than 3400 unsuccessful absentee votes from Bladen and Robeson. What happened to these voices? As I mentioned, one of the alleged Dowless claimed to work from Cumberland County to Charlotte. What did he do in these counties? We do not know. Note that according to state law, there must be no more fraud than the victory margin for a new choice as ordered. A new election can be ordered if “irregularities or irregularities occurred to such an extent that they disturb the outcome of the entire election and doubt the justice.
Cillizza: What is the attack if Dowless has been found to have broken  Bruno: According to Gerry Cohen, former Special Council of the General Assembly [North Carolina]there is a new election on the table, and if so, when can it happen? If NCSBE orders a new election it is back to the same three candidates, Republican Mark Harris, Democrat Dan McCready and Libertarian Jeff Scott. These candidates can only be replaced by the vote if they move from the state. A new election, that is, there will be a new filing, primary and general election. At least 45 days for the vote. There is a testimony planned by NCSBE to happen before 21 December. There is no timeline for when everything g has to be folded u pp NCSBE has said that they are aware of the January 3 date of swearing in.
Cillizza: Complete this sentence: “When the 116th Congress is gathered in January, the 9th district in North Carolina will represented by ____________? Bruno: My official answer is ¯ _ (ツ) _ / ¯.
If you ask other people who follow this carefully, they will probably say The same thing. I’ll just say this: The survey does not look like it will soon end. Every day, it seems a new trip. There is a chance that the 9th district will not have a representation in January. In today’s political environment it is clear that the one who stops representing the 9th district will have an asterisk with its name in many.
Some other thoughts if you want them: I’ve covered the 9th district channel from the outset Many thought that existing Robert Pittenger had in his bag. Polls got him up. Mark Harris’s victory is seen by many as a big upset. So many TV stations did not have their primary election night until they started coming in and he realized he would win. The 9th district was like many others which appeared in 2018. Harris, the Republican candidate, joined President Donald Trump. His position for voters was to put him in office to continue the president’s agenda. Then McCready ran a Conor Lamb / Joe Cunningham style campaign. He promised not to vote for Nancy Pelosi. His voice to voters was “country over party”. Resonated the message? Seems like it. Trump won the district by 12 points in 2016. McCready ended behind Harris with 905 votes.