The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified Wednesday that he warned his father repeatedly that he believed a political operative now at the center of an election-fraud investigation had previously used illegal tactics to win votes.
John Harris, now an assistant U.S. attorney in Raleigh, said he advised his father in conversations and emails that he believed Leslie McCrae Dowless was “shady” and appeared to have illegally collected absentee ballots in 2016 while working for a different Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
The younger Harris, who is 29, said he offered the advice to his father as he considered whether to hire Dowless to run his absentee-ballot program in the 2018 congressional race. He conveyed similar concerns to the campaign’s chief strategist, Andy Yates, he said. Mark Harris hired Dowless despite his son’s concerns, which he said he expressed starting in the spring of 2017.
At one point during his testimony, John Harris’s voice cracked and his father wept.