Politics & Government

McCrae Dowless was very early voter in 9th District election he helped bring about

McCrae Dowless on Wednesday was the first person in Bladen County to early-vote in a special congressional election he indirectly brought about.

Dowless was the first in line to vote at the Bladen County board of elections, according to a spokesman for the state elections board.

Dowless was arrested in February after being indicted on charges related to collecting absentee ballots in the 2018 primary and 2016 election. He faces multiple charges related to what officials called “a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” in Bladen and Robeson counties.

Dowless worked for the campaign of Republican Mark Harris. Though Harris appeared to lead Democrat Dan McCready on Election Day, the state elections board twice declined to certify the race before collecting evidence on the allegations that Dowless illegally collected absentee ballots.

After a February hearing, the bipartisan board unanimously called for a new election.

Now 10 Republicans, but not Harris, are running in the May 14 GOP primary. A runoff would be held Sept. 10 and a general election Nov. 5. If there’s no runoff, the general election would be Sept. 10. The primary winner is expected to face McCready.

Dowless could not be reached Wednesday.