Former friend of NC-9 campaign worker: ‘He indicated he knew the election laws better than the board of elections did'

Former friend of McCrae Dowless: ‘He indicated he knew the election laws better than the board'

The district includes Bladen and Robeson counties and leaders in Bladen County are saying this has happened before.

There were allegations of fraud involving absentee ballots in 2016. During that investigation, allegations were revealed detailing campaign workers paying others to collect unsealed absentee ballots.

A former friend of McCrae Dowless, one of the campaign workers in question, let Dowless use his building in Dublin as campaign headquarters.

Jeff Smith said Dowless assured him everything going on “was legal.”

“He was always adamant that what he did was backed up by state statutes and he had me convinced that everything he was doing was legitimate," Smith said. “He often indicated that he knew the election laws better than the board of elections did, so if that’s the case, if that’s the way he felt, then he should have known what he was doing."

Smith let Dowless stay in the building for about a year leading up to May’s primary elections. Smith was under the impression Dowless was only working on Mark Harris' campaign.

He said when he found out Dowless was also working on Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker’s campaign, Smith made him leave because of Smith’s long-running feud with McVicker.

Smith said Dowless then moved to a building on Highway 410 in Bladen County after the primaries.

McCrae Dowless' former friend, Jeff Smith, said this building on Highway 410 in Bladen County is Dowless' headquarters.
McCrae Dowless' former friend, Jeff Smith, said this building on Highway 410 in Bladen County is Dowless' headquarters. (WECT)
McCrae Dowless' former friend, Jeff Smith, said this building on Highway 410 in Bladen County is Dowless' headquarters.
McCrae Dowless' former friend, Jeff Smith, said this building on Highway 410 in Bladen County is Dowless' headquarters. (WECT)

McVicker’s campaign finance reports show he paid Dowless thousands to work on his campaign.

When WECT asked the sheriff for a comment, he declined, saying he had no comment on the subject at all.

McVicker has also deleted his Bladen County Sheriff Facebook page, which he used during November’s elections.

When WECT asked him why he deleted the page, McVicker replied, “Mind your own business.”

Sheriff Jim McVicker deleted his Bladen County Sheriff Facebook page. This is a screen grab of it on Monday.
Sheriff Jim McVicker deleted his Bladen County Sheriff Facebook page. This is a screen grab of it on Monday. (WECT)
Sheriff Jim McVicker deleted his Bladen County Sheriff Facebook page. This is a screen grab from Monday. It shows what happens when you try to click on his page.
Sheriff Jim McVicker deleted his Bladen County Sheriff Facebook page. This is a screen grab from Monday. It shows what happens when you try to click on his page.

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