NC GOP leader calls for new election in 9th Congressional District

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Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NC GOP, calls for new election in 9th Congressional District over concers with irrgeularities in the early voting count. (Credit: WJZY)

The possibility is growing that voters will go back to the polls for a new district nine election. Both Republicans and Democrats support the idea, as the congressional race is at the center of an election fraud investigation. 

“Losing those legally casted votes is a dark day for democracy in North Carolina,” NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said. 

He called for a new election on Tuesday during a press conference. Woodhouse said that it's "pretty certain" that early voting numbers were leaked. 

"Fundamental fairness in our election is a key to our democracy and is key to voters in the 9th district," Woodhouse said. "If early voting numbers were leaked, a new election is appropriate."

He went on to say that with all the chaos from Bladen County, state election officials must overtake operations if there is a special election. 

"This is crushing, more than you can ever understand, to the people in the Republican party who did this the right way," Woodhouse said. "This is a devastating situation for them."

In a sworn affidavit, a Bladen County precinct worker says early voting totals were printed the Saturday before election day. If that's confirmed, Woodhouse says it would be a competitive advantage. 

“It is an atrocious result. However, the most important thing is that people in the 9th congressional district have confidence that the person that represents them in Washington is there with the support of the voters,” Woodhouse said. 

The North Carolina Board of Elections refused to certify the results over concerns of absentee voting irregularities. An investigation has been opened into the irregularities and other alleged actives in the NC-9 race.

Republican Mark Harris beat Democrat Dan McCready by less than 1,000 votes, according to the unofficial returns. McCready initially conceded to Harris, but has since withdrawn his concession.

The person of interest in the state's investigation is McRae Dowless. Another affidavit reveals Dowless may have been holding on to hundreds of absentee ballots. 

Kenneth Simmons signed the affidavit Tuesday. He says he saw Dowless at an event holding more than 800 ballots and asked him why the ballots had not been turned in.

Simmons says Dowless replied that you don’t do that until the last day because the opposition would know how many votes they had to make up. Simmons says he felt like he had to come forward. 

"The way I look at it, I don't care if you are Republican, unaffiliated or Democrat. I want it fair," Simmons said. "That is most important to me. I want it fair. It doesn't matter who is up there as long as they do the job and it is fair."

Both Harris and McCready have said they would support a new election.

The NC GOP says it is standing by Harris. Woodhouse says he is not ready to say whether there should be a new primary. The state board of elections must meet by December 21 to hold a hearing on the investigation. A specific date has not been set yet.

It’s likely more details will be released and the timeline of a possible new election will be discussed once that hearing is called.

State Democrats held a press conference Tuesday calling for Mark Harris to take questions about the investigation. Since it was launched, Harris has only released a video response. They also support a new election.