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Son of ex-Congress hopeful Mark Harris running for NC House

January 18, 2022 GMT

APEX, N.C. (AP) — The son of a former North Carolina congressional candidate whose apparent election victory in 2018 was thrown out over allegations of voter fraud says he will run for the General Assembly this year.

John Harris of Apex, a former federal prosecutor and current private attorney, told news outlets he intends to seek the Republican nomination in a state House district in southwest Wake County. Under a map recently enacted by the legislature but currently challenged in court, Harris likely would seek to unseat two-term Democrat Rep. Julie von Haefen.

Harris’ father, the Rev. Mark Harris, appeared to get the most votes in the November 2018 election in the south-central 9th Congressional District. But witnesses told state officials Bladen County operative McCrae Dowless, who was working in part for Harris’ campaign at the time, had gathered hundreds of absentee ballots from voters with the help of assistants. At a State Board of Elections hearing, the workers testified they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates.

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The elder Harris had said he was surprised by the allegations, but John Harris testified he warned his parents he thought Dowless used shady methods and should be avoided. The board ordered a new election in which Mark Harris did not participate. Dowless was later charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and other charges. His case is pending.

John Harris said in an interview he did what he thought was right in the case, and has a good relationship with his parents, even though they made decisions with which he did not agree.

“Our relationship absolutely transcends politics,” Harris said, adding that his candidacy won’t be about those events. “I’m really focused on the future, and not the past.”