News & Politics

This top Republican signaled he may turn on North Carolina GOP candidate as evidence of election fraud piles up

As it becomes clear there was an illegal scheme to manipulate absentee ballots in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, GOP Sen. Richard Burr suggests the state might have to hold a new election.

Photo Credit: U.S. Senate

Things keep getting worse and worse for Mark Harris, the controversial GOP pastor who defeated Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. He faces serious accusations of ballot fraud — and now, there are signs that even a key GOP leader may be losing faith that he won office legitimately.

Last week, the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement refused to certify the results of the election and opened an investigation into irregularities in Bladen and Robeson Counties, after a number of elderly African-American voters reported suspicious people coming to take their absentee ballots, and election results found Harris won these ballots 61 to 38 even though the registered Democrats outnumbered the GOP 42 to 19 among absentee voters.

On Monday, one ballot harvester, Ginger Eason, admitted she was paid to round up ballots and illegally deliver them to local GOP strategist Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., who was allegedly in the employ of the Harris campaign. Then on Tuesday, a second person, Cheryl Kinlaw, said she was paid to deliver ballots to Dowless, and denied knowing it was illegal but also admitted she had no idea what he had done with them.

While the North Carolina Republican Party is mostly united in demanding the investigation cease and Harris be certified the winner, even threatening to sue the Board of Elections, cracks are starting to appear.

On Tuesday, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) did not unequivocally support Harris when asked about the state of the race by CNN reporter Elizabeth Landers, saying it was the Board of Elections' decision, and that if they could not certify, a new election would be necessary:

Meanwhile, the national Republican Party is largely staying quiet about the situation, even as they've been quick to jump on baseless claims of voter fraud when they thought it could hurt Democrats.

The prospects of being seated in Congress seem to be growing murky for Harris. And the public needs answers about the integrity of the election.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.