MONROE – Stevie Rivenbark made her first trip to Union County as a candidate for the 9th Congressional District special election on March 9. The Fayetteville resident expects to spend a lot more time in the county between now and the May 14 primary.
Rivenbark was one of four announced candidates that spoke at the Union County Republican Party Convention at Monroe High School.
Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour and Nadia Robinson of south Charlotte also addressed the convention.
State Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) and State Rep. Dean Arp (R-Monroe), who are both considering entering the race, also attended the convention but did not speak.
The North Carolina Board of Elections ordered the special election last month after an investigation found absentee ballot fraud in last year’s race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. Harris defeated McCready by 905 votes, and he urged the NCBOE to hold a new election after a hearing into the allegations regarding absentee ballots last month.
Harris has said he is not running in the special election while McCready is again running for the Democratic Party nomination. The general election, if the winner of the May 14 primary gets at least 30 percent of the vote, will be held on Sept. 10. If no Republican in the crowded field meets that threshold, then the run-off will be held Sept. 10 with the general election being held on Nov. 5.
Rivenbark, a single mother of two young children and a healthcare executive, said the party needs a fresh face in the race.
“The left is really coming after us for being the party of exclusion,” Rivenbark said. “It’s time for us to engage in new voter populations, younger voters, women voters, minority voters in order to combat the left and make sure people know our values.”
Union County accounted for 40 percent of the total vote in the 2018 9th Congressional District primary and Rivenbark said she will be back to the area often.
Robinson, the daughter of immigrants, a small business owner and mother of five, said she has the conservative values that will appeal to voters across the district.
“We need someone who will appeal to swing voters and unite our party under solid conservative principles of free speech, limited government and the rule of law,” Robinson said. “We need to remind people of what makes America a great country.”
Rushing, who has been endorsed by Harris, touted his experience as a county commissioner, as well as living and working in other counties of the district when he was younger. Rushing, who owns Take Aim Training gun range in Union County, served as a county commissioner from 2002 to 2006 and he has been a current commissioner since 2014.
“Every county in this district, I’ve worked in or I have lived in,” Rushing said. “I have spent a lot of time on the farms in all of the ninth district. I serviced farms from Bladen County to Anson County to Cumberland County. I’m pro-life and I am pro second amendment.”
Ridenhour said his experience as a Marine and as a county commissioner will serve the district well in Washington, D.C.
“I served 11 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two tours in Iraq,” Ridenhour said. “Marines are known for their can-do spirit. We see the hill, we take the hill. We hold the line, we don’t retreat. Unfortunately, in Washington, D.C., there are too few fighters. Our Republican Party and our President needs fighters. I stand with our President. We have to build the wall. It’s the first thing we do as Marines, establish a perimeter.’’
The filing deadline is March 15. Those who have filed through 2:52 p.m. March 13 include south Charlotte residents Allen Smith (Green Party) and Jeff Scott (Libertarian), as well as McCready (Democrat), Rushing (Republican), Fern Shubert (Republican).