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Mark Harris, North Carolina’s 9th district Republican candidate at a campaign rally last year. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Mark Harris, the North Carolina Republican U.S. House candidate whose campaign was at the center of a ballot-fraud inquiry, announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday that he will not run in the special election for the 9th congressional district race, citing personal health reasons.

Backstory: Harris held an unofficial 905-vote lead over his Democratic opponent, but the North Carolina State Board of Elections declined to certify him as a winner last year due to claims of "numerous" absentee voting irregularities. The board last week ordered a new election after its probe found that a political operative working on behalf of Harris had coordinated an "unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme," including cover-up efforts.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.

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