CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - On Tuesday Republican Mark Harris apologized for running away from media, and spoke about the on-going investigation into election fraud in the NC-09 House race.
“Honestly Robin looking back on it I think it was a rookie error, a rookie mistake on my part,” Harris told FOX 46’s Robin Kanady.
FOX 46 cameras were there Monday night as Harris left the Charlotte Government Center through a fire escape—causing the alarms to sound-- to avoid answering questions from the media.
“Last night, in hindsight, I wasn't thinking about the voters as much as it was probably more rude to the media, and for that I apologize and will not do that again,” Harris said.
Harris admits he hired Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., the man at the center of the election controversy. Dowless is now being investigated for allegations of running an illegal absentee ballot operation in Bladen County, according to the State Board of Elections.
The State Board has refused to certify the election since November, and Harris, who leads his Democratic opponent Dan McCready by less than 1,000 votes has not been seated in Congress.
Our Robin Kanady asked Harris several questions, working to get to the bottom of this long-running controversy.
Kanady: Did you do anything illegal?
Harris: No ma'am.
Kanady: Did anyone in your campaign do anything illegal?
Harris: Not to my knowledge. Not to my knowledge at all. We entered a program that I just described to you. I wasn't with people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don't know what all went on down there, I am dependent on the investigators just like everybody else is to get to the bottom of what was going on, but I can tell you we had no knowledge of anything beyond what I just described to you was part of an absentee ballot get out the vote campaign that we were having as part of our campaign.
Kanady: If it is found that someone in your campaign engaged in illegal activity, cheated the system in any way, why shouldn't there be a new election?
Harris: I think you've got deal with those individuals and hold them accountable for what they did.
Kanady: So are you saying at this point you do not believe there should be a new election?
Harris: I have said from the very beginning that if they can show and there is proof to lead us to understand that there was activity that was so widespread that it would change the outcome of my 905 vote lead then yes, there should be a new election.
The next deadline in the District 9 investigation is January 14, that's when parties involved have to submit briefs in the case.
A hearing was supposed to happen this Friday, but the old Board of Elections was dissolved and declared unconstitutional. A new board isn't set to be put in place before the end of the month.
You can watch the full interview below or by clicking here.