Three More Arrests in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District Case

There have been three more arrests in the current criminal case involving absentee ballot harvesting in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

According to a press release by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Caitlyn Croom was arrested on March 3 in New Hanover County. Croom has been charged with conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.

On March 5, Tonia Marie Gordon and Matthew Monroe Mathis were also taken into custody and charged with felonious obstruction of justice and possession of an absentee ballots. Mathis was also charged with falsely signing the certification on an absentee ballot.

Gordon turned herself in at the Bladen County Magistrate’s office and Mathis was arrested by the Sampson County Sheriff’s office. Rebecca Thompson, who also was indicted, has not yet been arrested.

Last week, the man allegedly running the operation, Leslie McCrae Dowless, was arrested for three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots.

Dowless was arrested by State Bureau of Investigation Agents in Bladensboro and a secure bond of $30,000 was set.

After several days of evidentiary hearings last month, North Carolina election officials ordered a new election in the face of evidence that the vote was tainted by alleged ballot-tampering.

Near the end of the fourth day of the hearings, Republican Mark Harris shocked those in attendance by announcing he felt a new election was needed. After making the announcement, Harris left the venue with his team.

On February 26, Harris said he would not be filing for the new primary and election ordered by the NCSBE for the 9th Congressional district.

Many potential names for the NC-09 seat have surfaced, but only a few have actually filed.

Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour has filed paperwork to run for the seat and announced his run on former Governor Pat McCrory’s radio show. McCrory had been urged to run, but last week made the announcement that he would not seek the seat.

Others who have already filed to run in the NC-09 race are Republican David Blackwelder, Green Party candidate Allen Smith, and Democrat Dan McCready.

State Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) has been rumored to be considering the seat. Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing was one of the first to say he would run, but he has yet to file.

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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. 












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