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Cuomo breaks down suspected NC election fraud

CNN's Chris Cuomo takes a look at the people involved in an election fraud probe in North Carolina that is upending the last undecided congressional race in the country.

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 4:06 PM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 4:10 PM

The campaign of North Carolina Republican Mark Harris still owed more than $53,000 after last month's election to a consulting firm at the center of an absentee ballot effort that has sparked allegations of fraud and could trigger a new House election, new filings show.

More than $34,000 of Harris' debt to Red Dome Group centered on a "reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee" work and other election efforts, according to a post-election report Harris' campaign filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Red Dome hired Leslie McCrae Dowless, a veteran political operative, to work on the get-out-the-vote operation on Harris' behalf. Dowless, who pleaded guilty to federal insurance fraud in 1992, is now at the center of state and local investigations probing whether absentee ballots were used to alter the results in Bladen County, where Harris won 96% of the absentee vote.

Dowless has denied any wrongdoing in comments to The Charlotte Observer. He has not responded to CNN requests for comment.

The allegations of ballot tampering now have cast doubts on Harris' 905-vote advantage over Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District -- the last unresolved race in this year's tumultuous midterm elections.

The state's election board has refused to certify the results. On Thursday, McCready withdrew his concession to Harris. On Friday, Harris said he was "absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing" and said he would support a new election if illegal activity is found.

Red Dome officials did not immediately respond to inquiries Friday. In all, Harris spent more than $500,000 with Red Dome over the course of the election cycle.

The new filing from Harris' campaign captures just a snapshot of campaign activity between Oct. 17 and Nov. 26 and does not detail how much was paid to Dowless through Red Dome. As November drew to a close, however, Harris' campaign also owed Red Dome more than $19,000 for other expenses, including digital advertising and "Robeson mailers."

Robeson County abuts Bladen County. This week, a CNN review of absentee ballot envelopes also found irregularities with witness signatures in Robeson. Unlike Bladen County, however, McCready won more of the absentee vote in Robeson than Harris did.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Olmsted327730
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Todd8266
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Morrison7429
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Marshall1261
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 1643
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Polk19024288
Woodbury724797
Johnson586230
Black Hawk562698
Linn5591132
Dubuque521157
Scott456639
Story401018
Dallas346344
Pottawattamie324744
Sioux244716
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Marshall202036
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Plymouth166728
Wapello153062
Clinton149226
Muscatine147758
Des Moines139610
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Crawford136114
Warren12617
Carroll115612
Jasper111234
Henry10675
Marion101810
Lee95610
Tama94837
Delaware78013
Dickinson7417
Wright7271
Boone7239
Mahaska69724
Bremer6779
Washington66211
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Jackson6333
Benton5902
Lyon5537
Clay5354
Louisa52315
Winnebago49719
Hardin4777
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Hamilton4754
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Kossuth4690
Poweshiek45911
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Iowa4109
Page4060
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Cass3903
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Osceola2851
Mitchell2811
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Monona2451
Taylor2432
Jefferson2391
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