Central figure in NC-09 investigation refuses interview with investigators

Central figure in NC-09 investigation refuses interview with investigators
McCrae Dowless, left, and Mark Harris are pictured during a dinner in Bladen County in March.

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WBTV) - A key figure in the ongoing investigation into voting irregularities in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District has refused an interview with investigators with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

McCrae Dowless formally declined an interview through his attorney, Cynthia Adams Singletary, on Monday.

Dowless worked for Republican Mark Harris in this year’s election. Harris narrowly beat Democrat Dan McCready for the seat by just 905 votes.

The NCSBE has refused to certify the results of the election amid concerns of voting irregularities in Bladen and Robeson Counties.

Dowless operated a coordinated effort to promote voting by absentee ballot.

WBTV has identified two other coordinated ballot efforts in Bladen County; one run by a local businessman and elected official and another carried out by two women who were paid by a political action committee funded largely by the North Carolina Democratic Party.

On Tuesday, Singletary released a statement on Dowless' behalf; marking the first time the Bladen County politico had addressed the 2018 allegations publicly.

“Mr. Dowless is a highly respected member of our community who is routinely sought after for his campaign expertise,” the statement from Singletary said. “He has not violated any State or Federal campaign laws and current ongoing investigations will prove the same. All speculation is premature and wholly unwarranted.”

An email thread obtained by WBTV between Singletary and NCSBE staff shows investigators requested an interview with Dowless and that request was declined.

If the NCSBE were to compel Dowless to testify, he could be immunized in a future criminal proceeding.

The Wake County District Attorney is investigating reports of voting irregularities in the 9th Congressional District with the help of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

The NCSBE will hold an evidentiary hearing on January 11, 2019 to hear evidence of possible election fraud and could vote to order a new election in the 9th Congressional District and other contests.

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