RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Republican in the nation's last undecided congressional election says he recruited a political operative who's now at the center of a ballot fraud investigation because he produced election results in his rural North Carolina county and other Republicans vouched for him.
Mark Harris told The Associated Press on Monday he didn't know before November's election that state elections board investigators had accused McCrae Dowless of illegally handling ballots in 2016 and didn't know that evidence went to federal prosecutors.
State elections officials suspect Dowless of tampering with or even discarding mail-in ballots last year.
Harris says he wanted to hire Dowless after the operative's 2016 GOP primary candidate got an incredible 98 percent of Bladen County's absentee votes.
Harris narrowly leads Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District race.
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