BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – Democrat Dan McCready is withdrawing his concession to Republican Mark Harris amid turmoil surrounding North Carolina’s controversial District 9 race, his campaign confirmed Thursday.
“I didn’t serve overseas in the Marines to come home to NC and watch a criminal, bankrolled by my opponent, take away people’s very right to vote,” McCready said in a video released on social media. “Today I withdraw my concession and call on Mark Harris to end his silence and tell us exactly what he knew, and when.”
Harris beat McCready by nearly 1,000 votes in November’s mid-term elections, carrying Bladen County by 1,557 votes. Harris declared victory that night. McCready conceded the next afternoon.
However, the North Carolina State Board of Elections has twice voted to not certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race because of reported ballot irregularities in portions of the district, including Bladen County.
Specifically, investigators with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the NCSBE are probing allegations of impropriety surrounding efforts to promote and collect absentee ballots from voters.
The board voted to hold an evidentiary hearing in the matter before the end of the year.
Much of the public scrutiny has centered on a man named McCrae Dowless, who was paid by the Harris campaign as a contractor for the candidate’s top consultant.
Dowless has come under fire in recent weeks over questions surrounding work he did in promoting absentee voting for Mark Harris, a Republican who beat incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger in the primary and McCready in the general election for the 9th Congressional District.
WBTV has uncovered evidence that points to coordinated efforts by two other groups to target absentee voters.
On Tuesday, WBTV exclusively obtained a set of handwritten notes reportedly made by a Bladen County businessman and local elected official that outlined a plan to pay people in exchange for collecting unsealed absentee ballots.
Mere hours before McCready’s announcement, three Republican senators from North Carolina held a press conference and called on Gov. Roy Cooper to create a bipartisan task force to investigate voting irregularities spanning multiple election cycles, including the 2016 gubernatorial election.