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GOP candidate who had a narrow lead in undecided 2018 House race calls for new election
Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images

GOP candidate who had a narrow lead in undecided 2018 House race calls for new election

The results called into question following allegations of voter fraud

The Republican candidate from the last undecided race of the 2018 midterm elections is calling for a new election, despite having originally been the winning candidate. Shortly after his comments were made public, the North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a new election.

What's the story?

Election results for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District showed Republican Mark Harris with 905 more votes than his opponent, Democrat Dan McCready. However, accusations of voter fraud following the campaign were serious enough to keep election officials in the state from officially certifying the race.

One key part of the ongoing investigation conducted by the state's board of elections centers on a political operative and convicted felon named Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked for the Harris campaign. Dowless is accused of paying people to manipulate ballots during the election.

Harris' son, John, testified Wednesday that he had warned his father about Dowless and had pointed out questionable behavior that Dowless had exhibited while working on another campaign in 2016. The younger Harris insisted, however, that he did not believe that his father thought Dowless was involved in anything corrupt.

Mark Harris told officials at the hearing that he did not know about Dowless' past and that he hadn't taken the warnings from his son seriously because he thought his son could be "a little judgmental and has a little taste of arrogance and some other things." He slightly softened that blow by adding "and I'm very proud of him and love him with all my heart."

Dowless has refused to testify at the hearing unless he can be granted immunity.

What happened today?

On Thursday, Harris publicly called for a new election.

"I believe a new election should be called," he said during his hearing in the state's Capitol. "It's become clear to me that public confidence in the 9th District has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted."

Democrats currently hold 235 seats in the House of Representatives while Republicans only hold 198, so this contest won't be enough to sway the balance of power. However, even a single vote in the House can prove to be crucial to either party trying to get legislation passed.

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