Republican Mark Harris announced Tuesday afternoon that he will not run again in the newly called special election for North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.
“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,” he said in a statement post to his Facebook page. “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.”
Harris’ decision comes just five days after the North Carolina Board of Elections unanimously called for a new election following hearings over alleged election fraud in the 2018 midterm race. At issue was a sprawling absentee-ballot scheme led by political operative L. McCrae Dowless Jr., who was hired on behalf of Harris’ team.
The Republican candidate agreed that a new election would be proper but denied that he knew of Dowless’ conduct which—according to evidence and witnesses’ testimony—included directing an operation that illegally collected ballots from voters and, in some cases, filled them out if they were uncompleted.
For months, the race has been unresolved after Harris led the initial vote count against his Democratic opponent Dan McCready by just 905 votes.
McCready already announced that he will run again in the newly called election.
“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,” Harris concluded in his Tuesday statement, urging his supporters to back Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing instead. “Please stay engaged, for it is our civic duty to do so.”