CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP) — With his apparent election to Congress still uncertified nearly two months after Election Day, former pastor Mark Harris said he is wounded by questions about his character but determined to persevere in his quest for public office.
Meanwhile, a Baptist associational leader in Charlotte, N.C. — where Harris pastored First Baptist Church until 2017 — said churches and pastors are praying for Harris. On Christmas Eve, Harris told Metrolina Baptist Association executive director Bob Lowman he feels “a peace” amid media coverage and allegations of election fraud.
Harris, who has denied any wrongdoing connected with the election, told reporters today (Jan. 3) that questions about his integrity are “painful and hurtful” aspects of the post-election fiasco.
“We went through a tough campaign in the fall,” including ads “that took my sermons out of context,” “twisted” them and attempted “to create an image of me that was nowhere near where I am as an individual,” Harris told reporters in Raleigh, N.C., after meeting with state election investigators. He apparently was referencing attack ads about his preaching on biblical gender roles.
“But I must say, as painful and hurtful as that was, this has been even worse because I don’t have anything that’s more valuable than my good name,” Harris said. “And I intend to stand on that good name and reputation that I have built over 30 years as a senior pastor in the state of North Carolina and the leadership that I’ve been able to bring.”
Harris was president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 2011-2013 and served on the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee. The new Congress was sworn in without Harris in Washington about the same time he addressed media in Raleigh.
Unofficial election results from North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District showed Harris, a Republican, defeating Democrat Dan McCready in November by 905 votes out of nearly 283,000 cast. However, the State Board of Elections refused to certify the results amid claims of irregularities regarding absentee ballots. Media reports have alleged election fraud.
Before the Board of Elections resolved the claims, a state court dissolved the board in a separate case. Harris filed court documents today (Jan. 3) asking a Wake County Superior Court judge to certify the election results immediately while election fraud investigations continue.
“We don’t believe that the number of ballots in question would change the outcome of this election,” Harris said.
Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press