WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A man whose last foray into electoral politics ended with a man being convicted in connection to an election fraud scheme has announced another run.

Mark Harris, a pastor and Winston-Salem native, announced Tuesday morning that he would be once again running for Congress in a video shared to his Facebook page.

“The very fabric of our nation was built upon is under threat, and as a pastor, father, and grandfather, I pledge unwavering dedication to fighting against the Biden administration’s catastrophic mistakes, and to reinvigorating America’s glory,” he writes in the caption of his campaign announcement video.

While it does not specify on his website in which congressional district he would be running, the Carolina Journal stated that he would likely run in District 8 where current representative Dan Bishop, who won the 2019 special election after Harris’s election was overturned, won’t be running for re-election. Currently, that district includes Cabarrus County, Montgomery County, Hoke County, Stanly County and portions of Rowan County and Cumberland County. 

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), and members of the House Freedom Caucus speak on the debt limit deal outside of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on May 30, 2023. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

2018 Controversy

This marks the third run for Harris. He lost in the primary in 2016, and, in 2018, made it to a general election where he appeared to win against Democrat Dan McCready. The Board of Elections did not certify the 2018 election due to claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting.

The irregularities were linked back to a man named Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a North Carolina political operative who worked with Harris’s campaign. Multiple people said that Dowless paid them to give him mail-in ballots.

Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. poses for a portrait outside of his home on Dec. 5, 2018, in Bladenboro, N.C. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP, File)

While Harris maintained he had no idea about Dowless’s activity and was cleared in connection to it, a new election was ordered and Harris didn’t run, citing medical issues. Instead, Dan Bishop ran on the Republican ticket and won the election.

Dowless was indicted in connection to this election in 2019 in Wake County. In 2021, he pleaded guilty to a number of financial crimes connected to his work on the congressional campaign and was sentenced to six months in prison. He died of lung cancer in 2022.

2023 announcement

Harris does not mention the 2018 election directly on his campaign website but does make mention of “being targeted in his previous election and standing firm against the liberal media onslaught.”

His website goes on to state that he “is driven by a desire to represent and amplify the voices of North Carolinians. He believes in a government that listens to its people, respects their rights, and works diligently for their benefit. From championing pro-family values to advocating for effective tax reform, Mark’s platform is a testament to his commitment to the betterment of every North Carolinian’s life.”

There was no immediate way to reach the Harris campaign for comment on their website.