Mark Harris, the Republican election fraudster who essentially stole his 2018 House election in NC before being caught, exposed, and tossed under the bus by his own family in testimony last week resulting in the state Board of Elections calling for a new election to be held, now says he will not run for the seat after all, citing health reasons.
In a statement, Republican Mark Harris cited ongoing issues with his health, including surgery scheduled for late March, as a main factor in his decision not to run again.
“While few things in my life have brought me more joy than getting to meet and know the people of this incredible part of North Carolina, and while I have been overwhelmed by the honor of their support for me as the Congressman-elect of NC-9, I owe it to Beth, my children and my six grandchildren to make the wisest decision for my health,” Harris said in the statement. “I also owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign. It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation.”
Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes after November’s election, but the NC Board of Elections decided not to certify the race due to challenges and questions about absentee ballots in Bladen County.
Harris is endorsing Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing for the seat, Rushing has been a major supporter of Harris and got the County Board to pass a resolution demanding Harris be seated.
Who is Stony Rushing? Well...
This is the guy Mark Harris just endorsed to be the Republican nominee in North Carolina's 9th district pic.twitter.com/qc9bw8aRGt— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 26, 2019
Rushing will have a number of competitors though.
Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour confirmed to Channel 9 he is seriously considering a run for the seat. Ridenhour, who, like McCready, is a former U.S. Marine, said he hopes to make a decision soon.
Former Gov. Pat McCrory said he is not making any announcements about future elections. Former U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger declined to comment. McCrory and Pittenger previously ruled out runs.
Former Charlotte mayoral candidate and City Councilman Kenny Smith could not be reached for comment. Union County GOP Chair Dan Barry declined to comment on if he will run.
Former state Rep. Andy Dulin said he would not rule out a run, but he is not seriously considering one. Former state Rep. Scott Stone said he will not run for the 9th District and will instead likely announce his candidacy for another seat in the coming weeks.
The Democrats though want McCready in that seat and argue if Harris is now out, another primary only means that it could be October before anyone represents the district, and means another immediate campaign for 2020.
No matter who runs, McCready has an immediate cash advantage. McCready has been fundraising for months and recently raised more than $500,000 for a new election.
"We are going to knock on every door and talk to people about putting country over party," McCready said. "We are going to talk to people about sending a new generation of leaders to Washington and fixing the mess up there."
In his news conference Friday, McCready said his team has not decided whether they will try to mount a legal challenge to prevent another primary. McCready said his team hopes to make a decision next week.
We'll see where this goes, but just because Harris is not running again doesn't mean McCready will win.