CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Dan McCready pulled no punches during his first extended comments in weeks about the ongoing election fraud investigation in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
McCready is the Democrat running in the district - a race clouded in controversy amidst an ongoing election fraud investigation.
McCready said, when all is said and done, it's possible his opponent Republican Mark Harris could wind up in jail.
"This is for the State Board to decide - I think there's two options here. Either [Harris] knew what was going on, which I don't know how you wouldn't, and he should be in jail... or he turned a blind eye to fraud. He built a culture of corruption that represents the worst in our politics."
When all the votes were counted in the days after the election, Harris had a 905 vote lead. Then came the unexpected - the State Board of Elections met in Raleigh to certify the results - usually just a rubber stamp.
The board, in a unanimous bi-partisan vote, decided to delay certification.
A second vote opened a sweeping investigation.
The allegations centered around a man named McCrae Dowless, a political operative hired by Harris to run an absentee ballot operation in Bladen County. Dowless was accused of running an illegal ballot harvesting operation.
Questions swirled as to whether ballots were changed or even destroyed.
"We knew there were some shenanigans going on in Bladen County," McCready said. "At the end of the day, we had no idea how deep and how wide this fraud was. And the fact that it went all the way to the top, the very top, of my opponent's campaign with him personally directing the hiring of a known criminal."
McCready said he had previously heard Dowless was “up to no good and maybe fraudulent.”
Harris admits to hiring Dowless, but says he knows nothing about the alleged fraud.
The case heads to court next week, where Harris is asking a judge to force the State Board of Elections to certify him as the winner.
That leads us to Thursday’s interview with McCready - the first time we’ve heard from him in several weeks.
He says he spent some time with family over the holidays and is now ready to re-engage in the ongoing debate.