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What You Need To Know About The 9th District Primary

Only Republican candidates will be on the ballot for the primary, which takes place May 14. Candidates for the Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties are already set. Early voting allows eligible voters to cast ballots in person prior to election day.

Following an investigation into mail ballot fraud by the state Board of Election, the subsequent order for a new election and announcements from local politicians throwing their hat into the ring, the 9th District election can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the primary:

How Do I Know If I’m A 9th District Voter?

Credit Google Maps

To cast a ballot in the special election, voters must live in the 9th District — which spans the following counties: Anson, part of Bladen, part of Cumberland, part of Mecklenburg, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland and Union. The map above shows the district boundaries.

To know for sure if you can vote in the 9th District election, click here to look up your voter registration information. That will show you the number of your Congressional district.

Also, only voters affiliated with the Republican Party or unaffiliated voters can participate in the primary election. Candidates for the Democratic, Green and Libertarian Parties are not facing challengers in the primary election, so members of those parties do not need to cast a vote ahead of the general election.

Who’s Running?

Ten Republican candidates are running to replace Mark Harris as the Republican candidate for the now-vacant seat once held by Robert Pittenger. Harris, who ousted Pittenger in the 2018 primary, said he would not run in the special election following an investigation that found evidence of absentee ballot fraud connected with his 2018 campaign. The state Board of Elections ordered a new election after a four-day hearing in Feburary. In the November election, Harris narrowly led Dan McCready.

At a public forum in south Charlotte earlier this month, eight of the 10 candidates showed that there’s not much ideological disagreement between those running. As State Sen. Dan Bishop said, it’s not about those issues. It’s about who can beat McCready in the general election.

Here’s a break-down of who will be on the primary ballot:

From left to right: Chris Anglin, Dan Bishop and Leigh Brown
Credit Angling, Bishop and Brown Campaigns
From left to right: Chris Anglin, Dan Bishop and Leigh Brown

Chris Anglin: An attorney from Raleigh who unsuccessfully ran for state Supreme Court in the last election. Anglin drew attention, and criticism from the Republican Party, when he switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican shortly before announcing his candidacy. Republicans accused Anglin of trying to split the vote with the other Republican candidates, opening the door for a Democratic win. Anglin denied those claims. Unlike voters, candidates do not have to live in the 9th District.

Republicans in the legislature tried to pass a bill to block Anglin’s candidacy in the race for the state Supreme Court. A court decision ultimately allowed him to run.

Anglin’s campaign website says that he is a “Constitutional Conservative who will stand up for the rule of law, free and fair trade, fiscal responsibility, opportunity for all, science, our environment and for democracy around the world.”

Anglin’s candidacy in the 9th District election has drawn similar Republican ire, with then-GOP chairman Robin Hayes saying “Chris Anglin is not a Republican.”

Dan Bishop: A Republican state Senator who represents part of Mecklenburg County, Bishop is an outspoken Trump supporter best known for his involvement in authoring the House Bill 2, also known as the controversial “bathroom bill.” He previously served in the state House.

Bishop holds a fundraising lead going in to the primary. He has loaned his campaign $250,000 and raised another $130,000 so far — well ahead of the other candidates. Bishop has said the 9th District needs a strong, conservative Republican to go toe-to-toe with Democrat Dan McCready.

"You need to send a proven conservative, a battle-tested conservative, someone who has won reelection as a conservative, against the tide," Bishop has said.

According to his campaign website, Bishop is running on a platform that is pro-gun and anti-abortion, with a focus on cutting the state income tax and punishing “sanctuary cities that harbor” immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Leigh Thomas Brown: A realtor, motivational speaker and author from Harrisburg. Brown unsuccessfully ran for state House in 2014.

According to her campaign website, she’s a “life-long Republican” who is dedicated to “conservative values and will fight to protect all life and … second amendment rights.” She also says she’s a “strong ally for President Trump.”

Kathie C. Day: A Republican from Cornelius. No more information could be found on Day.

From left to right: Gary Dunn, Stevie Rivenbark, Matthew Ridenhour
Credit Dunn, Rivenbark and Ridenhour Campaigns
From left to right: Gary Dunn, Stevie Rivenbark, Matthew Ridenhour

Gary Dunn: A Matthews resident, Dunn has run in multiple local and statewide races. He ran for Charlotte mayor as a Republican in 2017, and as a Democrat in 2013. He also ran for North Carolina governor as a Democrat in 2012 and as a Republican in 1992.

Stevie Rivenbark: From Fayetteville, Hull is a mother of two and a sales manager for a medical device company. This is Hull’s first run for office.

On her campaign website, Hull says she’s “running for U.S. Congress in N.C.’s 9th District to introduce a bold, new conservative to take on the left.” She also says that she’s an anti-abortion, pro-gun candidate who wants to focus on affordable health care.

Matthew Ridenhour: A former county commissioner for Mecklenburg County, Ridenhour lost his seat in the 2018 election. Running on a campaign slogan of “it takes a Marine, to beat a Marine,” Ridenhour has played up his 11 years of service, including two tours in Iraq. He says that will help him go up against Democrat Dan McCready. Ridenhour now works as a risk manager for a financial technology firm.

On his campaign website, Ridenhour says he wants to work on immigration reform, passing a balanced budget amendment and fixing health care.

From left to right: Stony Rushing, Fern Shubert and Albert Wiley, Jr.
Credit Steve Harrison / WFAE and Ballotpedia
From left to right: Stony Rushing, Fern Shubert and Albert Wiley, Jr.

Stony Rushing: A Union County commissioner, Rushing was endorsed by former Republican candidate Mark Harris when he decided not to run in the new election. Rushing has said he believes Harris was unfairly targeted by the state Board of Elections when it launched an investigation of mail ballot fraud during Harris’ 2018 Congressional campaign.

Rushing, a shooting range owner, drew national attention from pictures of him dressed as Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard with the county commissioner campaign slogan, “Supporting the Second Amendment Like a Boss.”

According to his campaign website, he’s a strong Trump supporter whose platform is anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-military and “tough on border security.”

Fern Shubert: An accountant from Marshville, Shubert has served in the state House for three terms and the state Senate for one term. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2004 and lost her bid to return to the state Senate in 2010.

Albert Lee Wiley, Jr.: From Salter Path, Wiley has run for Congress a few times. Wiley ran two unsuccessful campaigns for North Carolina’s 10th Congressional seat, losing the Republican primary in both 2016 and 2018.

Copyright 2019 WFAE

Jessa O’Connor is the Assistant Digital News Editor and Sunday reporter for WFAE. She joined the team in 2018 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a degree in broadcast journalism and worked for her college radio news station. Jessa won national awards for her college news coverage, including “First Place in Radio” from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program and “Best Radio News Reporting” from the Society of Professional Journalists.