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Mark Harris says he won't run again in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District

New election called in contested N.C. race

Former Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris says he will not be running in the upcoming special election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District less than a week after calling for a new race. Harris announced his decision not to file Tuesday on Facebook, citing "the extremely serious condition that I faced in mid-January."

"I also owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign," he wrote. "It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation."

On Thursday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections unanimously agreed to call for a new election in the 9th District following a months-long investigation into alleged absentee ballot fraud.

Harris was the apparent winner of the 2018 midterm election, beating Democratic Candidate Dan McCready by 905 votes.

But Harris's campaign was under intense scrutiny by state investigators for hiring McCrae Dowless, a political operative accused of an illegal absentee ballot collection scheme spanning several counties within the 9th District.

Harris testified to state election officials last week that he was not aware of any criminal wrongdoing and the operation Dowless described to him was within the boundaries of the law.

After spending Thursday morning on the witness stand, Harris returned from a recess and announced he was recovering from two strokes that had impaired his memory and impacted his testimony. He then stunned the room by calling for a new election.

"It's become clear to me that the public's confidence in the 9th District's seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted," Harris said.

On Facebook, Harris endorsed Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing in the upcoming Republican primary.

McCready, his former opponent, announced his candidacy for the special election on Friday. 

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