Incumbents win in county commissioner race
MONROE – North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District will have a new congressman come January.
Former First Baptist Church of Charlotte pastor Mark Harris stunned three-term incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger to win the Republican Primary on May 8 in what was a rematch of the 2016 GOP primary, which Pittenger won by 134 votes.
Harris tallied 17,223 votes (48.52 percent) to Pittenger’s 16,409 votes (46.23 percent) in unofficial returns. Fayetteville banker Clarence Goins finished third with 1,862 votes (5.25 percent). Pittenger is the first incumbent congressman in the country in either party to be defeated so far in 2018.
Harris won the Republican stronghold of Union County with 54 percent of the vote, out-polling Pittenger 7,472-5,867.
“From the beginning, this race has been about giving the people of this district a voice,” Harris told supporters at a watch party in Indian Trail. “You have stood up tonight across the ninth district, and you have made that voice loud and clear.”
Pittenger made brief remarks while conceding the race May 8 at a watch party in Monroe and thanked supporters in an email his campaign sent out on May 9. That email was also critical of Harris.
“Regarding the campaign, Mark Harris was successful in convincing enough voters that I supported Planned Parenthood (NRTL wrote a letter stating that was not true). He even stated that I opposed border funding, supported sanctuary cities and amnesty, all fabricated and nonsense, as I am a sponsor of legislation to the contrary. We were blindsided with these baseless attacks and clearly did not respond in an adequate manner.”
Harris will now face Democratic Party nominee Dan McCready in the November general election. McCready, a Marine veteran and small business owner who grew up in Charlotte, easily won the Democratic Primary with 83 percent of the vote. McCready’s vote total of 37,823 was more than the three Republican candidates combined.
“From day one, this campaign has been about putting country over party, and showing every North Carolina family that I’m there to fight for them,” said McCready told his supporters after declaring victory May 8. “Tonight, we celebrated, but tomorrow, we get back to work to get our country back on track.”
Incumbent Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey easily won the Republican Primary for sheriff when he trounced challenger Brian Crump 83-17 percent. Cathey is unopposed in November.
Incumbent Union County Board of Commissioners Stony Rushing and Jerry Simpson were the top two finishers in the Republican Primary while current Union County Board of Education member Dennis Rape took the third and final spot to advance to the general election. Rushing tallied 7,077 votes while Simpson had 6,950 votes. Rape had 5,813 votes. Anna Blood was the closest challenger with 5,545 votes.
In the Union County Board of Education District 3 Republican Primary, Gary Sides defeated Heather Craig Henage with 62 percent of the vote.