Feb 21, 2019

North Carolina board calls for new election in disputed House race

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

The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Thursday voted to call a new election for the state's 9th congressional district amid evidence of ballot-tampering.

Why it matters: This comes days after the board said its investigation found evidence that a political operative working on behalf of Republican candidate Mark Harris had coordinated an "unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme," including efforts of a cover-up.

The backdrop: Harris told the board moments before its unanimous ruling to order a new election to settle the country’s last unresolved midterm House race — a sharp reversal from his previous calls and a failed court challenge last month for election officials to certify him. It did not immediately set a date.

  • Harris holds an unofficial 905-vote lead over his Democratic opponent, but the board had declined to certify him as a winner last year due to claims of "numerous" absentee voting irregularities and later launched a probe.

Also on Thursday, the board's fourth day of hearings into voting irregularities, Harris told the five-member panel he had no knowledge of any election fraud. But he did acknowledge that he ignored warnings from his son about the Republican operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless.

  • John Harris, an assistant U.S. attorney in Raleigh, said under oath Wednesday that he had expressed misgivings about Dowless to his father in 2017 after analyzing absentee-ballot returns in 9th district in 2016. The elder Harris had narrowly lost the GOP primary and Dowless worked for the another Republican candidate.
  • The younger Harris' testimony contradicted his father's claim last month that he never heard any red flags about Dowless before hiring him.

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Tariff worries hit record high amid coronavirus outbreak

Data: CivicScience, margin of error ±1 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S imports grew to record high levels among Americans last month, particularly as more lost their jobs and concern about the novel coronavirus increased.

Driving the news: About seven in 10 people said they were at least somewhat concerned about tariffs in March, according to the latest survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Largest 24-hour spike in fatalities

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll from the novel coronavirus surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, as the U.S. saw its largest 24-hour spike in fatalities, per Johns Hopkins data. Recorded deaths across the U.S. surpassed 12,900 early Wednesday.

Why it matters: State officials have stressed that lockdowns must continue even if cities begin to see slight improvements from social distancing. Several hot spots, including New York, New Orleans, and Detroit, are expected to peak in the coming days.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,430,453 — Total deaths: 82,133 — Total recoveries: 301,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 399,081 — Total deaths: 12,907 — Total recoveries: 22,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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