MINT HILL – Several dozen supporters of Republican Mark Harris held a rally Jan. 16 in Mint Hill as the unofficial winner of the 9th Congressional District race prepares for a hearing before the State Board of Elections next week in the disputed race.
Harris, of Charlotte, defeated Democrat and Charlotte resident Dan McCready by 905 votes on election night last November in a district that stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville along the South Carolina border. But the state board of elections has twice declined to certify his election because of alleged voting irregularities and possible absentee ballot fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties.
The Harris campaign has said it committed no wrongdoing and that the number of ballots in question are not enough to sway the election. The McCready campaign alleges wrongdoing by a political operative hired by the Harris campaign and claims the number of disputed ballots was enough to sway the election.
The new state board of elections, which was seated last month, is scheduled to meet Monday for a hearing on the alleged irregularities and they could possibly certify Harris as the winner or call for a new election.
Harris, who is recovering from a severe bacterial infection that had him spend eight days in intensive care in the hospital last month, did not attend the rally as he was resting for next week’s hearing. Harris’ wife, Beth, said her husband has nearly recovered and will attend the hearing in Raleigh.
“He is healing faster than the doctor’s expected,” Beth Harris said. “He is home, he is doing well and he will be able to attend the hearing. We have cooperated fully with the investigation because we feel that we have nothing to hide.”
Mecklenburg County Republican Party chairman Chris Turner said he expects the board will certify Harris as the winner.
“Everybody here did something to make sure that Mark Harris won his race,” Turner said. “Mark has earned and he deserves this seat. Mark won this race. Every county certified those results.”