New North Carolina congressional election scheduled

North Carolina has set the dates for a new election in the 9th Congressional District, just weeks after the North Carolina State Board of Elections held a dramatic hearing into allegations of ballot fraud in that race. The primaries will now take place May 14, with a general election slated for Sept. 10. 

“This is a totally new election with five recognized parties including Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, the Green Party and the Constitution party, and there potentially could be more if more than one person files for any of those parties in the election,” Patrick Gannon spokesman for the State Board of Elections told CBS News.  

In either of the partisan primaries, if no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the votes, there would be a primary run-off on Sept. 10, and the general election would be pushed to Nov. 5. 

Robert Howard, spokesman for the North Carolina State Democratic Party, told CBS News that though there will be a Democratic primary, at this point, “We have not heard of any other Democrats, other than Dan McCready planning to file or run.” McCready was the Democratic nominee for the election last November. 

State election authorities ordered the new election late last month after a lengthy investigation into ballot fraud, having concluded “that irregularities occurred to such an extent that they tainted the results of the election and cast doubt on its fairness,” a statement from the board read. 

Republican candidate Mark Harris, who initially appeared to have narrowly edged out McCready in November, called for a new vote during the election fraud hearing. State investigators probed whether political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, who had been hired by the Harris campaign, had illegally collected hundreds of absentee ballots in order to tilt the race to Harris. 

During the hearing, Harris said he had suffered from a combination of two strokes and a bout with sepsis, which had caused problems with his memory. He announced soon after the hearing that he would not be running in the new election.

Dowless was recently arrested by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for his role in the alleged election fraud. He has been charged with three counts of felony obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of an absentee ballot. Several others also face charges as a result of the investigation.

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