Republican Mark Harris has announced he will not seek to file his candidacy to enter the North Carolina 9th Congressional District special election.
Harris won the race by 905 votes and for all intents and purposes was the Congressman-elect. But for months, the 9th District race remained uncertified while state election investigators looked into an alleged absentee ballot harvesting operation involving a man hired by the Harris campaign named Mcrae Dowless.
In a special statement from his campaign, Harris thanked those who supported him and cited his health as the main reason he would not enter the special election.
“After consulting with my physicians, there are several things that my health situation requires as a result of the extremely serious condition that I faced in mid-January. One of those is a necessary surgery that is now scheduled for the last week in March,” wrote Harris in the statement.
Mark Harris Issues Statement on Special Election
Over the last several days, I have had the privilege of hearing from so many people who have stood with us, cared for us, and who have asked how they can pray for us. In my response to them I have simply said to pray for wisdom and discernment as we make decisions concerning my health situation, the new election in Congressional District 9, and where we go from here.
After consulting with my physicians, there are several things that my health situation requires as a result of the extremely serious condition that I faced in mid-January. One of those is a necessary surgery that is now scheduled for the last week in March.
Given my health situation, the need to regain full strength, and the timing of this surgery the last week of March, I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9. While few things in my life have brought me more joy than getting to meet and know the people of this incredible part of North Carolina, and while I have been overwhelmed by the honor of their support for me as the Congressman-elect of NC-9, I owe it to Beth, my children and my six grandchildren to make the wisest decision for my health. I also owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign. It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation.
Over the course of campaigning in the district, I met and got to know one such leader, Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing. Stony, from my observation, along with his wife Anne-Marie, have served Union County effectively through the years. His background and his experience have proven him to stand firm on so many of the issues that concern us, including the issue of life, our national security, and religious freedom. I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing.
Through the challenges of life, Beth and I continually place our trust in God, and we both know He holds the future in His Hands. Please stay engaged, for it is our civic duty to do so.
Again, it has been an honor to have your love, support, encouragement, and prayers each step of our journey together. Over the next few weeks as I continue to gain strength for surgery, I want to respect my family’s desire for privacy and I will not be doing interviews.
Harris told the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) that he was recovering from an infection, which he was hospitalized for in January. Harris suffered from sepsis and two strokes. He informed the NCSBE that he was not prepared for the “rigors” of the hearing before he and his team departed the hearing.
The NCSBE held a vote to call a special election not long after Harris made his statement and departure from the venue. According to laws passed in 2018, any new election ordered in the state requires a new primary as well.
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A.P. Dillon is the North Carolina Bureau Chief for The Tennesee Star and a reporter at Battleground State News. Follow A.P. Dillon on Twitter. Email Tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mark Harris” by WRAL TV.