North Carolina Republican Mark Harris will not run in the new election for the 9th Congressional District following November’s disputed result caused by absentee ballot irregularities, his campaign announced Tuesday.
Harris’ decision follows his support for a second election to fill the seat after a contentious investigation into the irregularities. Red flags had been raised regarding potentially compromised absentee ballots stemming from the work of a political consultant hired by Harris’ campaign.
Harris had appeared to win the campaign by about 900 votes before the state Board of Elections decided last week to hold a second election.
“Given my health situation, the need to regain full strength, and the timing of this surgery the last week of March, I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9,” Harris wrote in a statement. “While few things in my life have brought me more joy than getting to meet and know the people of this incredible part of North Carolina, and while I have been overwhelmed by the honor of their support for me as the Congressman-elect of NC-9, I owe it to Beth, my children and my six grandchildren to make the wisest decision for my health.”
“I also owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign,” he added. “It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.
By Caroline Kelly, CNN