Pat Melvin, a realtor in Elizabethtown, N.C., has been a friend of Dowless for 30 years. He says the accusations being made against Dowless and the Harris campaign are going to ruin politics in the state’s 9th District.
“We’ll never have any decent people run for office again,” Melvin says. “You’re just going to get the worst of the worst.”
Melvin says Dowless didn’t do anything illegal. Bladen is a poor county. And Melvin says Dowless was just going into low-income and senior citizen housing units to combat Democratic efforts to court those voters.
“Those people wouldn’t give a s**t about who they voted for, regardless. They have nothing to do with politics,” Melvin says. “When one side’s doing it, it was perfectly fine. Nobody’s ever complained about it. But then the other side started realizing this is what it’s going to take to win a race, that’s basically what happened.”
A 2016 episode of This American Life focused on accusations in Bladen County of similar election fraud perpetrated by the Democrats, but no wrongdoing was ever uncovered.