Senate hopeful Mark Harris revises website after plaigarism allegations

U.S. Senate candidate Mark Harris recently amended his campaign website after a report that certain passages replicated a Georgia Senate candidate’s site.

Harris’ website had portions describing his stance on issues that were nearly identical to those of another conservative candidate – Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Senate candidate in Georgia.

First reported by Politico, the identical language appeared in various areas of two sites, including in statements that discussed jobs and the economy.

The Gingrey campaign told Politico the statements “originated” on their end. A Harris spokesman confirmed to the News & Observer that their website has since been updated, and the text has been reworded.

Republican consultant Tom Perdue, who is working for Harris and oversaw the writing of his website, said that a group of five college students had pulled information for his statements together based on issue statements of current politicians, including governors and senators. He blamed himself for the similarities, saying they were a result of his not reading over the statements closely enough.

“There was no plagiarism intended,” Perdue said. “It was a total accident.”

Parts of the websites were nearly exactly the same, with some phrases modified to reflect that one candidate was running in North Carolina and the other in Georgia, Politico found.

On health care, Harris’ website read: “From day one, President Obama’s takeover of America’s health care system has been a disaster. Hard-working North Carolinians have seen their existing plans canceled and seen premium rate increases as high as 305 percent.”

The Gingrey website featured nearly the same statement: “President Obama’s takeover of America’s health care system has been a disaster from day one. Hard-working men and women here in the state of Georgia have seen their existing plans canceled and face premium rates increases as high as 198 percent.”

Both websites, the report said, followed with nearly the same closing.

Harris’ campaign is not the only one in the North Carolina Senate race to face questions about plagiarism.

Rival Greg Brannon amended his campaign website multiple times to fix passages that appeared to be lifted from Sen. Rand Paul and other lawmakers.