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Elections Board Sets New Dates For 9th District Race

Steve Harrison
Democrat Dan McCready is running in the special election for the 9th Congressinal District. The N.C. Board of Elections voted Monday to set the dates for the primary and general elections.

North Carolina's 9th Congressional District won't have a representative until at least September. The state Board of Elections on Monday set primaries for May 14. The general election is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Filing in the race begins March 11 and will close March 15.

With the calendar set, the next question is who will run?

On the Democratic side, Dan McCready — who trailed Republican Mark Harris by 905 votes before the board called for a new election – has already said he’s running again. His announcement came a day after the board voted unanimously to hold a new election because state elections investigators said there was a fraudulent absentee mail ballot scheme run on behalf of Harris.

[Related Content: Mark Harris Says He Is Not Running In New Congressional Election]

Harris has said he won’t run again because of his health. Former Gov. Pat McCrory said last week he is sitting the race out, and he was joined on Sunday by Union County GOP Chair Dan Barry and former Charlotte City Council member Kenny Smith.

"I’ve got work commitments and family commitments that really make the 2019 special a tough race for me," Smith said.

Several Republicans expect State Sen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte will run. Bishop, a social conservative, is now the only Republican member of Mecklenburg County’s legislative delegation after Democrats knocked out five GOP House and Senate incumbents in November.

Former Mecklenburg Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour is also considering a run. He lost his seat in November.

Smith expects the Republican nominee to come from either Mecklenburg or Union County, whose voters made up 65 percent of the eight-county 9th District electorate in the November election.

"We took a really hard look at the race," he said. "My assessment is Union will have a little higher weight in the primary."

Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing is running, and he’s been endorsed by Harris. Rushing – who owns a shooting range — has received national attention for his vigorous online defense of Harris, as well as for dressing up in a white suit and hat as Bogg Hogg, the villain of the 1970s TV show "The Dukes of Hazard." In campaign materials, Rushing — dressed as Hogg — holds a rifle and says he would protect the second amendment "like a boss."

Republican David Blackwelder of Raleigh has also announced he’s running, as has Libertarian Jeff Scott, who ran in November.

If a run-off is needed after the May 14 primaries, that second primary will be held Sept. 10 — the same day as the Charlotte City Council and mayoral primaries.

That would push the general election back to Nov. 5.