Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) called for an emergency hearing on election fraud in North Carolina after multiple outlets reported votes in the state's 9th district may have been altered.
"While the Republican majority is once again chasing conspiracies, real election fraud is playing out right before us in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District," Connolly, the vice ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement. "We should see every action they take to ignore this situation for what it is ― a slap in the face to all voters in North Carolina who participated in the 2018 election with the expectation that every vote would be counted."
Initial results showed Republican Mark Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by fewer than 1,000 votes in last month's midterm elections. But the results have come under intense scrutiny after reports surfaced that a political operative working for Republicans ran an illegal ballot operation in Bladen County.
The reports prompted the Associated Press to rescind its initial call for Harris as the winner. The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics said it was now investigating "claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting and potentially other matters in the 9th Congressional District contest."
On Monday, the Charlotte Observer reported Leslie McCrae Dowless ― a man who worked as an "independent contractor" for Harris' campaign in Bladen County ― was possibly connected to suspicious absentee ballot activity. Dowless was convicted of perjury in 1990 and felony fraud in 1992, according to court records obtained by the paper. Dowless denied any wrongdoing to the publication.
"Votes have been stolen by preying on senior and minority voters, and now a cloud of doubt and suspicion hangs over this election result," Connolly said in his statement. "It is incumbent on Chairman [Trey] Gowdy to hold an emergency hearing before the end of this congressional session so that we can shed light and understand what happened in this race."