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Few voters take part in do-over 9th District primary

May 14th, 2019

— Turnout was very light Tuesday in the Republican primary in the 9th Congressional District.

A new election was called after Republican Mark Harris, who won the nomination last year and seemed to beat Democrat Dan McCready in November’s general election, acknowledged the need for a do-over following revelations that his operative in Bladen County likely paid people to illegally collect absentee ballots.

Ten Republicans are on the ballot:

  • Chris Anglin, a Raleigh lawyer who ran for state Supreme Court last fall (and who GOP officials describe as a Democratic plant intended to roil the primary)
  • State Sen. Dan Bishop, R-Mecklenburg, who is best known for sponsoring House Bill 2, the since-repealed state law limiting transgender rights
  • Kathie Day, a real estate agent from Mecklenburg County
  • Gary Dunn, a Mecklenburg County businessman who has run for governor as both a Republican and a Democrat and who lost the 2017 GOP primary for Charlotte mayor
  • Stevie Rivenbark Hull, a Fayetteville businesswoman
  • Matthew Ridenhour, a former Mecklenburg County commissioner
  • Stony Rushing, a Union County commissioner who has been endorsed by Harris
  • Fern Shubert of Union County, a former state senator and gubernatorial candidate
  • Leigh Thomas Brown, a real estate agent and motivational speaker from Mecklenburg County who lost a 2014 primary for a state House seat
  • Albert Wiley Jr., a physician from Salter Path who has run for Congress several times since the mid-1980s

Harris declined to run again.

9th Congressional District map

The 9th District stretches along the South Carolina state line from Charlotte to southern Cumberland County, and 20 of Cumberland County’s 77 precincts are in the district.

As of 5 p.m., only 700 people had cast primary ballots in Cumberland County. Polls remain open until 7:30 p.m.

County elections director Terri Robertson initially estimated that staffing the 20 precincts, as well as early voting sites, would cost Cumberland County taxpayers about $90,000.

“We have cut some costs that we felt like we would need in certain areas. and hopefully we’ve brought it down to a little bit less, maybe around $60,000 or $70,000,” Robertson said.

Despite the absentee ballot scandal, Carolyn De Jesus decided the primary was a good time to teach her first-time-voting daughter the importance of the ballot.

“[I want her] not just go by what either I say or other people say, but to get thoroughly informed and come to a decision on her own and to exercise that right that so many countries don’t have,” De Jesus said.

If none of the 10 Republican candidates gets at least 30 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held Sept. 10, and the general election will be Nov. 5. If a runoff isn’t needed, the general election will be on Sept. 10.

McCready, Green Party candidate Allen Smith and Libertarian candidate Jeff Scott will meet the GOP winner in the general election.

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