With Mark Harris Out, A Crowded Republican Field Emerges

CHARLOTTE, NC – Mark Harris will not run in the new 9th Congressional District election ordered by the State Board of Elections last week, Harris wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

Harris cited health concerns as a reason for his decision not to run.

“It’s an uphill battle no matter what happens,” said Union County GOP Chairman Dan Barry.

He says the Republican nominee for the 9th district won’t have it easy in the new election.

“Whatever republican starts in this race, starts hip deep in mud,” said Barry.

With Democrat Dan McCready already preparing for a general election, the Republican field is wide open.

“I see the list of names growing. 15, 16 people,” said Barry.

Harris endorsed Stony Rushing in his statement. Rushing is a current Union county commissioner and was a major supporter of Harris during his 2018 campaign.

Former North Carolina senator Tommy Tucker is also considering a run saying “a fresh start for the district would be in order.”

Matthew Ridenhour of Mecklenburg County has also said he is strongly considering a go at the 9th district seat.

“It is going to be paramount that that is an articulate, vibrant, credible candidate,” said Barry.

During days of testimony last week in the state board evidentiary hearing; investigators outlined what they called a coordinated, unlawful scheme to commit election fraud. Republican leaders say they’re focused on a clean race this time around.

“We’re just going to take every protocol necessary to make sure that our candidates understand the rules and are following the rules,” said Chris Turner with the Mecklenburg County GOP.

Turner says they’re anticipating a lot of attention.

“We want to have visibility, we want to have scrutiny in our elections because we believe when that happens we win,” said Turner.

It’s possible a primary for the 9th district could happen as soon as May.