Republican Mark Harris will not run in the special election for the 9th Congressional District, the former candidate announced Tuesday. The decision comes days after the State Board of Election voted to hold a new election amid allegations of absentee-by-mail ballot fraud.
Harris had appeared to win a 900-vote victory over Democrat Dan McCready in the district that stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville. But quickly, evidence emerged that an operative on the Harris campaign payroll had illegally harvested ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties.
Harris initially called for his victory to be certified as the State Board of Elections investigated. However, on the fourth day of a grueling public hearing, Harris called for a new election to be held.
Harris was not directly implicated in wrongdoing in the elections board hearing and would be eligible to run in the new election. However, Harris cited his ill health and an upcoming surgery in his decision not to run.
Instead, Harris is throwing his support behind Union County commissioner Stony Rushing, who supported Harris during the investigation.
There will likely be numerous other candidates in the race, which still does not have a schedule.