Possible 9th District primary could open large pool of Republican candidates

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One day after the North Carolina State Board of Elections ordered a new election for the 9th Congressional District, candidates are starting to line up.

In a crowded Dreamchaser's Brewery in Waxhaw, Democrat Dan McCready officially announced Friday he was running again for the seat.

"Our right to vote is our most sacred freedom as Americans," McCready said. "This is bigger than one race. Bigger than one election. This is about, ‘What does it mean to live in a democracy? What does it mean to be an American, and we are going to keep fighting."

Lawmakers voted last year to require a primary if the state board ordered a new election, which could mean a crowded field of Republican candidates.

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The campaign manager for Mark Harris, said the Republican contender in the disputed election, said Harris is assessing his health situation and will make a decision on whether he will run again. During the Thursday's testimony, Harris revealed he suffered two strokes during his recent hospitalization.

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.

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.

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"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.

Past coverage:

The 9th District election could be lined up to run at the same time as the 3rd District's special election. A proposed timeline would make filing from March 11 to 15 for a May primary, a July 2 runoff and an October election.

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