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Leslie McCrae Dowless sits in his kitchen in Bladenboro, North Carolina. Photo: Justin Kase Conder for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A Republican political operative in North Carolina accused of ballot tampering in a 2018 congressional election was hit with new felony charges on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Leslie McCrae Dowless was already facing obstruction and conspiracy charges relating to an investigation into North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District 2018 election. That probe found a "coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme" in 2 counties.

What's new: Dowless was just indicted along with 7 alleged co-conspirators. He faces 2 counts of felony obstruction of justice, perjury, solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and illegal possession of absentee ballots, according to NPR.

Background: The ballot-fraud inquiry centered around the campaign of Republican U.S. House candidate Mark Harris. He held an unofficial 905-vote lead over his Democratic opponent Dan McCready. But the North Carolina State Board of Elections declined to certify Harris as a winner because of concerns of voting irregularities.

  • The board ordered a new election to be held after its probe found that Dowless — who was working on behalf of Harris — had allegedly coordinated an "unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme," including efforts of a cover-up.
  • Dowless was arrested in February and charged with 3 counts of obstruction of justice and 2 each of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots, per the Washington Post. He's previously denied any wrongdoing to the Charlotte Observer.

What's next: McCready is up against Republican Dan Bishop in the new election this fall, after Harris — who was not mentioned in the indictment — chose not to run in the new election, per AP.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Big Tech lobbies hard against looming antitrust bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech CEOs, including Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai, have been jawboning lawmakers as a Senate committee takes up a key antitrust bill Thursday.

Why it matters: The bill prompting this lobbying frenzy could upend how tech's giants do business, and tech's critics see this as a "now or never" moment for Congress to check the industry's power.

Biden stock market gets Trumped

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

U.S. stocks markets performed worse during the first year of Joe Biden's presidency than during the first year of Donald Trump's presidency.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 rose 19.3% between the market close before Biden's inauguration and yesterday's market close, compared to a 24.1% increase for Trump during the similar period.

Inflation threatens Latinos' buying power

Expand chart
Data: Hispanic Index of Consumer Sentiment; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Latinos in the U.S. are less optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago as inflation threatens to cut into their buying power.

Why it matters: Latinos have been economic growth drivers for the past decade, opening new businesses at faster rates than other groups and increasing their homeownership rates. The group's overall output would make them the seventh-largest GDP in the world if they were a country.