MONROE, N.C. - It’s crunch time for Republicans seeking the 9th Congressional District nomination. Eight of the 10 candidates for the seat participated in the final debate ahead of Tuesday’s election.
State Sen. Dan Bishop, Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, former State Sen. Fern Shubert, Realtor Leigh Brown, businesswoman Stevie Rivenbark, real estate agent Kathie C. Day, attorney Chris Anglin, physician Albert Wiley and businessman Gary Dunn are seeking the seat. Democrat Dan McCready does not have a primary challenger.
The debate was one step closer to having representation in the 9th Congressional District months after an election fraud scandal.
In making a pitch as to why he is strongest to take on McCready, Bishop said he is a battle-tested conservative who has faced scrutiny from national and international levels.
“Going toe to toe, the left will turn the guns on the Republican party,” Bishop said. “That is why I should be the nominee.”
Rushing predicted Democrats will be more inclined to vote for him over Bishop. Rushing touted his life working and living in all of the counties of the 9th District.
“I won't have any trouble bringing conservative Democrats over,” Rushing said. “Not like a Charlotte attorney.”
Ridenhour said being a U.S. Marine will take away a talking point from McCready. Ridenhour also pitched his ability to uphold conservative principles on a Democratic majority county commission.
“On the Mecklenburg Commission, as a Republican, I fought for our conservative principles every day,” Ridenhour said.
Two candidates came under fire for being supported by PACs.
Stony Rushing attacked Bishop for being supported by anti-Trump “Club for Growth.” Bishop responded by pointing out Mark Harris was endorsed by the same group and claiming Rushing would be honored to have its support.
The special election was ordered because Mark Harris, the Republican in last year's race against McCready, used a political operative accused of collecting mail-in ballots.
Harris didn't run again. McCready faces no primary opponent.
Brown defended receiving support from a PAC she used to raise funds for. Brown said she did not coordinate with the group and she is running a campaign her family can be proud of.
The first question of the night asked candidates what question they would ask McCready. Rivenbark said she would ask McCready what he stands for. Shubert said she would ask why taxpayers should subsidize his industry. Ridenhour said there is no point in asking a question because McCready wouldn’t answer it.
When asked how candidates would make up for lost time in Washington, Bishop said he would build a “second-to-none” constituent services office. Brown said she would get educated on the issues. Rushing said he would spend more time in the district than in Washington.
When asked what member of Congress the candidates admire, Dunn declined to comment. Rushing, Bishop, Wiley and Shubert said Mark Meadows -- Bishop said Jim Jordan. Brown said Dan Crenshaw, Ridenhour said Massie and Rivenbark said Ted Budd.
The primary election is May 14. If no candidate receives 30 percent of the vote, the second place finish can call for a runoff. If there is a runoff, it will be on Sept. 10, otherwise, the vote will be in the general election.
Candidates running in 9th District primary:
- Stony Rushing
- Fern Shubert
- Dan Bishop
- Matthew Ridenhour
- Gary Dunn
- Kathie Day
- Stevie Rivenbark
- Leigh Brown
- Chris Anglin
- Albert Wiley Jr.
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