Harris, pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Charlotte and a leader of the 2012 evangelistic push to punish LGBTQ people for being LGBTQ, had beaten incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger in the 2018 primary, then ran against Democratic Marine golden boy Dan McCready (not all bright visions come to pass). Harris appeared to win over McCready by 900 votes. That's when the world got to know Leslie McCrae Dowless, a character out of the novel about NC politics that Damon Runyon never wrote.
By the end of November 2018, Joe Bruno, a reporter for WSOC, first mentioned the name Leslie McCrae ("McCrae") Dowless, and began to find a history of allegations of ballot fraud going back years. McRae Dowless, a gun for hire, a Democrat when they had power and then officially a Republican after they took over. An opportunist with certain skills, which turned out to be outright forgery and fabrication of bogus absentee ballots (which -- let's be fair -- may never actually have come close to turning an election but nevertheless tainted the one sufficiently in 2018 to end Mark Harris's political career, at least until now). Dowless faced criminal charges. Somehow, Harris skated. The Wake County D.A. said there wasn't enough evidence. But the State Board of Elections (SBOE) refused to certify Harris's election based on provable fraud, and then voted unanimously (including the two Republican members) to invalidate the 2018 election and call for a new election in 2019 (which Dan McCready lost again, this time to that horse's patoot Dan Bishop). All of which culminated in an escalation of revelation, first his denial that he knew anything about Dowless's activities (hardly credible that this preacherman didn't perceive exactly who McCrae Dowless was). But from denial, he was soon sobbing in public at the SBOE inquest while his son testified against him, said he himself had warned his father about the apparent corruption of Dowless. Harris ended his testimony abruptly, withdrawing his candidacy and conceding that a new election was called for, considering the evidence.
That was 2018. Now, in yet another election year, Harris is back as a striving Christian warrior trying to save America -- or at least the 8th District of NC -- and denying that any of 2018 ever happened. He now says he was the victim of a manufactured ballot crisis, that Democratic officials conspired against him to "steal" his election. Is the Trump shtick of God's own martyred hero going to suffice for Harris's comeback? Dunno. Time will tell. Someday soon I might get around to profiling Harris's primary opponents, and how they're treating him.
Tim Funk published a revealing profile on The Assembly's website about Harris's current plan to make his comeback in March's primary against several other Republican contenders. Well worth signing up for The Assembly.