North Carolina candidates began filing Monday to run for Congress, the state legislature, district attorney and county positions. The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections was packed with candidates and their supporters before the start of filing at noon.
The filing period ends February 28. Among candidates who filed was Dan McCready. He’s an Iraq War veteran and Charlotte businessman who wants to unseat three-term, 9th District Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger. McCready already has raised more than $1 million.
The 34-year-old Democrat filed his paperwork surrounded by family and some heavy-hitter supporters, including former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.
Pittenger has held the 9th District Congressional seat for three terms and it's been Republican Party for about 55 years. McCready, a former Marine captain-turned solar energy entrepreneur, thinks he can change that. He criticized both parties for not working together and described Congress as broken.
“This is a calling I feel to fight back because I can’t stand idly by anymore while extremist politicians try to tear apart our schools, tear apart our churches, they’re trying to undo what our country has built up over hundreds of years,” McCready said.
McCready says he wants to help rural communities bounce back from lost jobs and the opioid crisis. McCready says he also wants to change the campaign system.
“We gotta get the money out of politics, the special interests, the dark money is killing our political system. We have got to take the drawing of district lines out of the hands of politicians. Gerrymandering is killing the state and our democracy and that shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” McCready said, although it's up to state legislatures, not Congress, to draw districts.
This is McCready’s first run for office. His endorsements include Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, in addition to Gantt.
"This guy's talking about bringing people together and the country is ready for that, and he has the right background to make that happen," said Gantt.
McCready is expected to face Christian Cano in the May primary. Cano, a Charlotte resident, ran against Pittenger in 2016 and garnered 42 percent of the vote. Cano says he will file on Friday.