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McCready Says He Is Running Again; Says Harris Must Seek 'Forgiveness' If On Ballot

Steve Harrison
Dan McCready said Friday he is running again for the 9th Congressional District seat.

A day after the North Carolina Board of Elections voted to hold a new election in the 9th Congressional District, Democrat Dan McCready kicked off his second attempt to win the seat.

Speaking to a room full of supporters at a Waxhaw brewery Friday, Dan McCready criticized his former – and possibly future opponent – Mark Harris.

"What we saw this week in the hearing was a culture of corruption," McCready said. "We saw emails that were hidden from the board under subpoena. We saw lying on the stand."

In announcing that he will run again for the 9th District, McCready said the board of election’s unanimous vote to hold a new 9th District election shows "we care about our democracy here in North Carolina.”

The hearing focused on whether a Bladen County political operative ran a fraudulent absentee mail ballot scheme to benefit Harris.

The election will include primaries because of a law passed late last year requires them – if the board orders a new election. Those are tentatively scheduled for May, with the general election in October.

Asked if he will challenge the law requiring primaries, McCready said, "We are taking a look at the ballot and I think we’ll now more next week."

Mark Harris’s wife, Beth, said Thursday her husband will think about running again. He’s recovering from an infection from January, and said at his hearing that he had two strokes.

If Harris does run, "he is going to need to ask for forgiveness from the voters," McCready said. "We live in a democracy, and this is ultimately a question for voters to decide.

Former Congressman Robert Pittenger, who lost to Harris in last year’s primary, has said he doesn’t want to run again. Former Governor Pat McCrory has said he may run for governor or the U.S. Senate – but not for the 9th District seat.

Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, a Republican, says he’s strongly considering running, and that his decision doesn’t depend on whether Harris runs.

Democrat Dan McCready said Friday he will run in the new 9th Congressional District election that was ordered by the state elections board Thursday.

McCready, speaking before supporters at Dreamchaser's Brewery in Waxhaw, said he doesn't know yet whether he will contest a new state law that requires new party primaries if the elections board called for a new general election in the 9th District. He said will "look at the ballot" next week and made a decision.

Under previous law, a new election would have been a repeat of McCready versus Republican Mark Harris. But the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a law at the end of 2018 requiring new primaries as well. If Harris doesn't run - or if he loses - McCready could face a new Republican in the general election, which will likely be in the fall.

[Related Content: How The 9th District's 'Greek Tragedy' Unfolded]

Harris called for a new election on Thursday, during an elections board hearing into fraud in last year's Congressional race.

"What happened yesterday is the state board sent a message," McCready said. "In a 5-0, bipartisan decision -  a historic decision - three Democrats and two Republicans came together and sent a message all across this county and all across the world that we care about our democracy here in North Carolina."

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.