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Ten seek GOP nomination in 9th District

March 15th, 2019

— Republican voters in the state’s 9th Congressional District will have 10 candidates to choose from in a new election for the U.S. House seat.

But Democrats and two other parties running in the 9th District won’t even need a primary.

The State Board of Elections last month ordered a new election in the 9th District after finding absentee ballot tampering in the November election.

9th Congressional District map

Republican Mark Harris, who ran last fall, isn’t running in the new election. The GOP candidates who are include:

  • Chris Anglin, a Raleigh lawyer who ran for state Supreme Court last fall
  • 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 Dan Bishop, R-Mecklenburg, who is best known for sponsoring House Bill 2, the since-repealed state law limiting transgender rights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.

They will face off in a May 14 primary, and the State Board of Elections determined Friday that they will appear on the ballot in alphabetical order starting with last names that begin with the letter “F.”

If no one gets at least 30 percent of the vote, the second-place candidate can seek a runoff primary, which would be held Sept 10.

Absentee ballots will be mailed out in a couple of weeks, and the State Board of Elections will have staff in Bladen and Robeson counties to ensure there are no problems this time, spokesman Patrick Gannon said.

“[They will] be there to assist the county board staffs and monitor and make sure everything is going smoothly and that everything’s being done by the book,” Gannon said.

On the Democratic side, no one signed up to challenge Dan McCready, the party’s nominee from last fall.

Jeff Scott, the Libertarian candidate in the November election, also is running again, and Green Party candidate Allen Smith will be joining the race.

Harris led McCready by about 900 votes after the November election, but the state board refused to certify the results until allegations of absentee ballot fraud in Bladen and Robeson counties could be investigated.

The board found that McCrae Dowless, whom Harris hired for a get-out-the-vote effort, had a staff that went door to door illegally collecting absentee ballots from voters.

Dowless already faces criminal charges for his absentee ballot work in the 2016 general election and the 2018 primary. State and federal investigators are looking into his activities in last fall’s election.

The general election for the 9th District will be held Nov. 5, but if no runoff primary is needed to determine the GOP nominee, it will be on Sept. 10.

The 9th District runs along the South Carolina state line from Charlotte to Robeson County before turning north to take in southern Cumberland County and western Bladen County.

Some voters in Cumberland County said Friday that they aren’t enthralled with the prospect of having to vote again to elect their congressional representative.

“I’m just really shocked. Now what happens? Are we going to have to go through the whole process again? Our votes didn’t count?” Helen Zaldanda asked.

“I think it’s bad for our community. I think it’s bad for our state,” Jeremy Fisher said. “North Carolina has been through a lot, and I think it puts us back on a national stage in a negative light. And it’s going to cost a lot of money.”

Printing ballots ans staffing early voting sites and Election Day polling places in the 20 Cumberland County precincts for the primary and general election will cost about $160,000 to $170,000, county elections director Terri Robertson said.

“We will have to hire precinct officials to work. We will have to hire people to deliver equipment. Then there’s the programing, the cost of programming, the cost of ballots,” Robertson said.

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