Scandal-marred North Carolina House district holds special House primaries Tuesday
WASHINGTON — Months after allegations of absentee ballot fraud prompted election officials to throw out the 2018 election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, voters head to the polls once again Tuesday for a redo.
The Democratic primary is locked up for Democrat Dan McCready, the veteran and small business owner who was the party's nominee in 2018. McCready is running unopposed after falling 905 votes short of Republican Mark Harris last November, before the election results were tossed out.
So the real action is on the Republican side, where the shadow of last November looms large.
Harris initially looked like the winner last Election Day, but the state election board refused to certify the victory because of allegations that absentee ballots were mishandled by a political operative working for the Harris campaign, as well as the operatives associates.
Ultimately, the board called for a new election. And Harris announced he wouldn't run again, citing health concerns.
Now, there are 10 Republicans angling for the nomination in the district. If one candidate wins at least 30 percent of the vote Tuesday, then they'll win the primary outright and go on to face McCready on Sept. 10. If everyone falls short, the top two GOP candidates will move onto a runoff on Sept. 10, kicking the general election to Nov. 5.
The favorite in the race appears to be state Sen. Dan Bishop, who has been in the state legislature since 2015. Bishop is best known for being the author of the controversial "bathroom bill." The bill, which has since been amended, restricts people from using a public bathroom for a gender other than the one listed on their birth certificate. That policy drew criticism from LGBT activists and prompted travel boycotts in the state.
Bishop's has been the most active candidate on the airwaves, spending more than $180,000 on this TV ad, which puts McCready alongside Democrats like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Rep. Maxine Waters, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. He's also backed by the Club for Growth.
Harris' choice for the nomination is Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing. Rushing has tried to deflect from the link between the absentee fraud allegations and the GOP by accusing McCready and Democrats of fraud instead, portraying himself as an anti-establishment ally of President Trump.
Realtor Leigh Brown has been the beneficiary of more than $435,000 in television ads from the National Association of Realtors.
Seven other Republicans are running as well.