Former Southern Baptist pastor Mark Harris has pulled out of the running for Congress, just days after agreeing to a new congressional election amid concerns of fraud.
Harris cited health concerns including sepsis and two strokes in an email Feb. 26 to state election officials saying he would not remain in the new race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Harris led by 905 votes in the last count of November 2018 ballots but state officials refused to certify the results.
Harris said he “owed it to the citizens of the 9th District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign,” Reuters quoted him as saying today.
State officials last week ordered a new election after Harris acknowledged Feb. 21 an absence of integrity in the vote, which had placed him slightly above Democrat Dan McCready.
“The public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted,” Harris told the North Carolina Board of Elections, reversing his adamant stance against a new election.
Harris pastored First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., until 2017 and was president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 2011-2013.