Book Review: How Mark Harris’ 2018 Congressional Win Was Stolen

[Note: We originally posted this review as part of my Sept 24 video podcast notes, but it was never posted as a stand-along book review.]

I finally finished Thirteen Ballots, Elizabeth (Beth) Harris’ autobiographical account of how corrupt forces in both of North Carolina’s political parties colluded to destroy her husband, Rev Mark Harris, after he had the audacity to win a primary challenge against an incumbent deep-state RINO named Robert Pittenger.

The book’s Forward is written by the other former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee.

This book is a significant historical artifact on at least three levels:

  1. As the wife of an ambitious politician, she took pains to describe the toll a political campaign has on the

    Click image to access the video podcast.

    candidate’s family. Beth is a great role model parent and wife, yet she explains this side of the equation in a touching way. Any Christian couple that’s thinking about going into politics should read this book together.

  2. The dealings her husband had with the (now) convicted felon Chairman of the NC Republican Party gives us a hint at who was really behind Mark’s character assassination. The personal interactions this couple experienced along the way with other power players is a stunning eye opener. Any Christian college student majoring in public policy should read this book. In fact, I’d recommend it as required reading in both Public Policy programs at which I studied: The Liberty University and Regent University graduate programs.
  3. And finally, one cannot read this book and ignore the absolute raw deal Mark Harris got from NC’s State Board of Elections (SBE) Director Kim Strach, her sidekick, Joan Fleming, who allowed Chairman Josh Malcolm and a cast of Democrat operatives to break every rule in order to oust Harris from his lawfully elected seat. As if the corruption on display in that show trial was not enough, Beth contrasted the agency’s treatment of Mark with their response to NC’s 2016 gubernatorial election and this was genius. Lawmakers on election-oversight committees should read this book, audit every aspect of how they handled NC’s 2020 elections, and then maybe issue criminal referrals for what they find.

My biggest takeaway from this entire ordeal is that our elections are being administered by a cartel of administrators, politicians, and consultants who operate above the law. Our elected leaders are either afraid to expose the gravity of the situation or they’re complicit with the arrangement.

There are others, but just one example of how deep the corruption runs can be illustrated in the interactions Mark Harris had with convicted criminal, NC GOP Party Chairman, Robin Hayes (whom Pres Trump later pardoned).

“Robin Hayes called Mark and told him that if he would promise not to join the Freedom Caucus, Robin would help him raise funds. Mark told Robin he had already pledged to join and could not go back on it. We really didn’t hear from Robin again until we saw him at the end of the summer, in what turned out to be a very embarrassing moment form him” (94).

Later, we picked up the saga that played out, when President Trump was about to land in Charlotte for an August fundraiser.

“While we were standing around outside . . . the credentials area . . . Robin Hayes approached us. We chatted for a time as we waited to get our credentials, as Robin Hayes had a small part in the program. Suddenly, the Trump people nixed that. They did not want Robin to appear at the event with the president. Robin kind of smiled, shrugged it off and left. Later we learned that Robin was under investigation by the FBI as part of a big operation initiated by North Carolina’s new Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. Robin later plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. As we think about it in hindsight, it gives us pause. There was a reason Trump didn’t want to be seen with Hayes. Yet he had no qualms about being seen with us. At that time Dowless had been under investigation by the FBI for approximately four months” (95-6).

I said a lot more about this book in the podcast and in the extended review, linked here, but this post is a taste.

Our biggest disappointment was that attorneys played a major part in this not-so silent coup, and Beth largely gave them a pass. We would have liked to know more about why Mark felt like he had no choice but to appear and testify at the “evidentiary” hearings.

What attorneys egged him into that trap?

Was it the Roger Knight-John Branch team, hired by the NRCC before they found an excuse to abandon the fight?

Was it Harris’ criminal attorney, the late David Freeman? His defense cost the Harris family more than $100,000 but he must not have understood the terms of the subpoena that McCrae Dowless’ small-town attorney understood perfectly.

The limited power of that “quasi-judicial” governing board made very little of their subpoena enforceable. Arriving was mandatory, but testifying was optional. Dowless’ attorney, Cynthia Singletary, explained this to the Board and offered her client’s testimony in exchange for immunity.

Afraid of what Dowless might reveal in open court, the Board balked and Dowless walked.

History will never tell us what would have happened if Harris had offered a similar deal.

When combined with the eagerly awaited Nick Ochsner-Michael Graff book, due out in November, we should get a much clearer picture of North Carolina’s deep-state corruption.

~ jd