Chili’s has entered the political landscape with one of its latest tweets.
The casual-dining restaurant chain has responded to being name-checked by Andrew Bates, the communications director for the Democratic super PAC American Bridge, after he asked Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina GOP, to stop “repeating calls for rewarding election fraud” in exchange for a Chili’s gift card.
“You heard the man. Don't repeat calls for rewarding election fraud and you can have the time of your life at your local Chili's,” the restaurant tweeted Monday.
The chain soon clarified its remarks, saying the tweet was in "no way" meant to be political.
Accusations of voter fraud and ballot irregularities have plagued the 9th Congressional District election since November, with officials holding off on certifying a winner amid an investigation of possible voter fraud pertaining to absentee ballots.
Republican Mark Harris had led Democrat Dan McCready by about 900 votes out of nearly 283,000 cast in the district, which the GOP has held since 1963.
But a probe focusing on absentee ballots, particularly in Bladen County — the only county among the eight in the district where Harris won a majority of mail-in ballots over McCready — has cast doubt on the initial results.
A Bladen County man, McCrae Dowless, was also identified by the board as a “person of interest” related to an alleged absentee ballot operation.
Dowless, who had been working as chief strategist of the Harris Campaign, has been accused by a fellow Republican of admitting to hoarding 800 absentee ballots before the May primary election, during which Harris beat the incumbent.
Harris, a Baptist minister, has maintained he was “absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing” but is open to a new election if there is proof any ballot irregularities could have influenced the outcome of the race.
The state elections board has said an evidentiary hearing will occur on Jan. 11, WECT reported.
McCready had initially conceded the election but retracted it earlier this month.
Fox News' Michael Bartiromo and Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.