Dan McCready withdraws concession in House race amid fraud allegations

North Carolina candidate paid $428k to consulting firm linked to alleged ballot tampering

State officials investigate potential election fraud in North Carolina; emergency hearing possible

But in recent days, with more evidence surfacing of absentee ballot fraud, including the possible destruction of ballots from Democrats, McCready withdrew his concession on Thursday, accusing Harris of knowingly supporting 'criminal activity'. Pittenger, a three-term incumbent, had received just 17.

Pittenger said he did not recall being told of fraud complaints his advisers made to Woodhouse and Foote, and he declined to confirm that he blamed "ballot stuffers" on election night.

One month after the midterms, a congressional race in North Carolina is still undecided.

Of the 1,300 or so absentee ballot requests Bladen County received, Dowless turned in nearly half of those on behalf of voters. Last week, the bipartisan state board of elections refused to certify the results because of reports of "irregularities" and "fraudulent activities" involving absentee ballots. Dowless, moreover, may have been running schemes like this for years, financed partially by contributions from the Bladen County Republican Party. North Carolina law allows someone to turn in an absentee ballot on behalf of a "close relative". If true, this would raise serious questions about what Republicans knew and why, if they knew anything, they failed to take action - especially since the party has claimed to be so ruthlessly obsessed with protecting the integrity of elections. "Today I withdraw my concession and call on Mark Harris to end his silence and tell us exactly what he knew, and when".

A congressional candidate for whom Dowless reportedly worked in 2016 also performed extremely well in absentee voting, despite finishing third in the race.

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However, he said that if the outcome would not have been changed, the Republican candidate should be certified the victor. On Sunday, Hayes said there weren't enough questioned ballots to change the race's outcome, and the next day he accused a Democratic member of the state board of "score-settling". "This is against everything that we actively stand for", he said.

North Carolina Republicans and Democrats continue to fight over how to investigate the allegations of election fraud.

State Republicans, including party head Dallas Woodhouse, initially said Democrats were trying to steal the seat.

He recalled concluding that Harris had won the overall vote with a strong showing from evangelical voters, but he said: "We did not look real specifically at absentee ballots". Johnson did not respond to requests for comment Monday and Tuesday. He has been named Harris' incoming chief of staff, although whether Harris will be seated in Congress in January remains uncertain. It also didn't certify the results of the Bladen County Commissioner District 3 and in Robeson County the District Court 16B Seat 2 race between Republican Jack Moody and Democrat Vanessa Burton.

Top state Republican officials said Thursday they could support a new election in the 9th Congressional District only if the board uncovers "an overwhelming amount of evidence" that fraud changed the outcome of the vote or that "there is a substantial likelihood that it could have been (changed)".

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If the board concludes that the irregularities tainted those results, it could toss them and call for a new election. A set of 161 ballots obtained by CNN showed that nine people individually signed as "witnesses" on at least 10 absentee ballots.

"I have been studying Southern politics for 30 years and North Carolina politics for 15, and I have never seen anything like that", Bitzer said.

Dowless is also at the center of allegations that absentee ballots were tampered with.

Robeson County saw a surge in requests for absentee ballots this summer, which was unusually early, Steve Stone, chairman of the county board of elections, said in an interview Thursday.

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