2019 North Carolina's 9th congressional district special election

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2019 North Carolina's 9th congressional district special election

← 2018 September 10, 2019 or November 5, 2019 2020 →

North Carolina's 9th congressional district
Party Republican Democratic

U.S. Representative before election

(Robert Pittenger prior to 2018 election)

Elected U.S. Representative


A special election will be held in 2019 to fill the vacancy in North Carolina's 9th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for the remainder of the 116th United States Congress. The seat has been vacant since the opening of the 116th Congress, following the refusal of the North Carolina State Board of Elections to certify the results of the November 2018 election in the district due to allegations of electoral fraud.[1]

Mark Harris, a Republican, led by 905 votes in the unofficial returns for the 2018 North Carolina's 9th congressional district election. However, allegations of fraud in the election prevented its certification. The North Carolina State Board of Elections set an evidentiary hearing to begin on February 18, 2019.[2] After hearing evidence, including testimony from Harris himself, the board unanimously voted on February 21 to call a new election.[3][4]

The primary will be held on May 14, 2019, with the general election on September 10 – unless a primary runoff is required, in which case the runoff will be held on September 10 and the general election on November 5.[5]

The filing period for candidates ended on March 15. A total of 13 candidates qualified for the primary, among them 10 Republicans, 1 Democrat, 1 Libertarian and 1 Green.[6] Dan McCready, the Democratic Party nominee in the 2018 election, will run again and will face no primary opposition.[7] Among Republicans, neither Harris nor Robert Pittenger, the incumbent whom Harris defeated in the 2018 primary election, will run.[8][9]

With the announcement by the State Board ordering a new election, it becomes the second congressional special election in North Carolina in 2019, the other being the 3rd congressional district's special election.


The 2018 congressional district election ended with Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes, the closest race in the district in over sixty years. While McCready had conceded defeat, the North Carolina Democratic Party alleged that electoral fraud had taken place, and filed affidavits with the North Carolina State Board of Elections alleging that independent contractors working on behalf of Harris had illegally collected absentee ballots.[10][11] The North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously not to certify the election, and they would later order an evidentiary hearing to be held. The board also opened an investigation around the activities of Leslie McCrae Dowless, a campaign operative with felony fraud and perjury convictions, who was hired by the Harris campaign.[12] Incoming Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the United States House of Representatives would not seat Harris until the fraud investigation had been completed.[13]

After a delay caused by restructuring of the Board of Elections and delayed appointment of members by Republican allies of Harris, the board set hearings to begin on February 18, 2019. On that day the regulator reported that it had found evidence of "a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme" that may have involved more than 1,000 ballots or ballot request forms.[14] On February 20, Harris's son, John Harris, a federal prosecutor in North Carolina, testified to the election board that he had repeatedly warned his father not to hire Dowless because Dowless appeared to have previously engaged in illegal tactics to win votes.[15]

On February 21, Harris announced that "the public's confidence in the ninth district seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted." The Board of Elections voted unanimously to call a special election to fill the vacancy.[4] This is the first House of Representatives election to require a "do-over" since 1974.[16]

Dowless has been indicted on felony charges.[17]

Republican primary[edit]






Matthew Ridenhour

Democratic primary[edit]




Dan McCready
Federal politicians
Statewide, and local politicians

Libertarian primary[edit]



Green primary[edit]



  • Loran Allen Smith, perennial candidate[57]

General election[edit]


Hypothetical polling
Poll source Date(s)
of error
McCready (D)
DCCC Targeting and Analytics (D)[A] Feb 24–25, 2019 518 ± 4.3% 46% 50%


Partisan clients


  1. ^ Murphy, Brian; Morrill, Jim (February 15, 2019). "All mail-in ballots in Bladen, Robeson were tainted, McCready says in asking for re-do". The News & Observer. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  2. ^ New NC elections board sets date for 9th District hearing, WRAL, February 4, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Caldwell, Leigh Ann. "New election ordered in North Carolina House district after possible illegal activities". NBC News. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Mutnick, Ally [@allymutnick] (February 21, 2019). "BREAKING: All 5 members of @NCSBE unanimously vote for a new election in #NC09 This will be the first redo congressional election in over 40 years" (Tweet). Retrieved February 21, 2019 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Barrón-López, Laura [@lbarronlopez] (March 4, 2019). "NEW: @NCSBE orders dates for #NC09 special election: PRIMARY will be May 14 GENERAL will be Sept. 10 If 2nd primary is needed, it will be on Sept. 10 and general will be moved to Nov. 5" (Tweet). Retrieved March 4, 2019 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "CANDIDATE LIST GROUPED BY CONTEST" (PDF). ncsbe.gov. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Harris, John F. (December 10, 2018). "North Carolina Democrat preparing for special election in contested congressional race". Politico. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Robert Pittenger won't run in 9th district special election". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "Rep. Robert Pittenger Won't Run Even if 'Ballot Harvesting' Probe Causes Primary Do-Over". Rollcall.com. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  10. ^ Wise, Justin (December 3, 2018). "Second woman says she was paid to collect absentee ballots in North Carolina House race". The Hill. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  11. ^ Levy, Adam (December 3, 2018). "North Carolina elections board delays certification of congressional election results again". CNN. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  12. ^ Man at center of North Carolina election fraud probe turned in hundreds of absentee ballot requests, CNN, Eric Bradner, Adam Levy, Drew Griffin and Curt Devine, December 5, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Bowden, John. "Hoyer: Democrats won't seat NC Republican amid election fraud investigation". The Hill. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  14. ^ Blinder, Alan (February 18, 2019). "In North Carolina, Investigators Find Ballot 'Scheme' in House Race". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  15. ^ "Candidate's son warned father of N.C. political operative's alleged tactics". Washington Post. February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Shepard, Steven (December 18, 2018). "Here's What Happened the Last Time There Was An Election Do-Over: North Carolina's crazy election fraud scandal is almost, but not quite unprecedented in American history". Politico. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "Bladen County operative at center of NC election fraud investigation indicted, arrested". charlotteobserver.
  18. ^ a b Hodges, David (March 15, 2019). "Last day for candidates to file in NC 9th Congressional District election". WBTV. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "Sponsor of N Carolina anti-LGBT bill to run for US House". WRAL. Associated Press. March 14, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "Prominent Realtor Leigh Brown is now running for Congress". HousingWire. March 15, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  21. ^ Portillo, Ely; Bonner, Lynn (March 14, 2019). "Mecklenburg Republicans are jumping in the 9th District race, adding to primary field". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  22. ^ "Former Meck County commissioner announces candidacy in new election for NC-09". WVTV. March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  23. ^ Woolverton, Paul (March 6, 2019). "Fayetteville crash survivor to run for 9th Congressional District". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  24. ^ Mutnick, Ally (February 27, 2019). "Harris Bows Out of Special Election". National Journal. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  25. ^ a b Stanley-Becker, Isaac (February 27, 2019). "Gun enthusiast and real-life 'Boss Hogg' seizes GOP mantle in congressional race tainted by fraud". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  26. ^ Morrill, Jim; Portillo, Ely (March 11, 2019). "Surprise Union County candidate shakes up the 9th District Republican primary". The State. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  27. ^ State Board of Elections List of 9th District Candidates
  28. ^ "David Blackwelder withdraws from 9th district election". abc11.com/.
  29. ^ Morrill, Jim [@jimmorrill] (March 7, 2019). "One more name for #NC09: GOP Rep. @DeanArp of Union County, He's making calls and sizing it up. #ncpol #ncga" (Tweet). Retrieved March 8, 2019 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ a b Morrill, Jim; Portillo, Ely (December 13, 2018). "In the 9th District, a new primary might draw a crowded field for disputed seat". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  31. ^ Bruno, Joe [@JoeBrunoWSOC9] (March 3, 2019). "New: Union County GOP Chair @DBBarry_ says he will not run for #NC09 #ncpol @wsoctv" (Tweet). Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via Twitter.
  32. ^ Wasserman, David (February 21, 2019). "NC-09 Remains in Toss Up After New Election Ordered". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  33. ^ Evans, Jon (February 26, 2019). "Sen. Britt will not seek GOP nomination in new 9th Congressional District election". WECT. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  34. ^ Bruno, Joe (December 15, 2018). "Potential GOP primary candidates in 9th Congressional District". WSOC. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  35. ^ Laura Barrón-López (February 26, 2019). "Mark Harris says he won't run in North Carolina election do-over". Politico. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  36. ^ Bruno, Joe [@JoeBrunoWSOC9] (March 11, 2019). "Former Fayetteville Mayor Nat Roberson says he will not run for #NC09 @wsoctv" (Tweet). Retrieved March 11, 2019 – via Twitter.
  37. ^ McCrory, Pat [@patmccrorync] (February 24, 2019). "Much has changed over the past week regarding the 9th congressional district. I have received an enormous number of calls about it from friends, reporters, and political operatives from our state and Washington, D.C." (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2019 – via Twitter.
  38. ^ McCrory, Pat [@patmccrorync] (February 24, 2019). "At 8:15am, I will be sharing my personal status on what is now the 9th district congressional election. The Pat McCrory Show (1110 WBT-AM radio)" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2019 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ Horsch, Lauren [@LaurenHorsch] (February 25, 2019). "Pat McCrory announces on his radio show that he is not running in the #NC09. Does not have the "fire in his belly" for that position. Instead is looking toward potentially running for governor in 2020 or Burr's US Senate seat in 2022. #ncpol" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2019 – via Twitter.
  40. ^ Raynor, Jessicah (March 3, 2019). "Kenny Smith Not Running for District 9 Seat". Spectrum News Charlotte. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  41. ^ Bruno, Joe [@JoeBrunoWSOC9] (February 22, 2019). "Republican former NC Rep. Scott Stone tells @wsoctv he will not be a candidate for #NC09. He says he will likely announce candidacy for a different office in the coming weeks #ncpol" (Tweet). Retrieved February 22, 2019 – via Twitter.
  42. ^ Morrill, Jim [@jimmorrill] (March 11, 2019). "Former #NCSen Tommy Tucker is NOT running for #NC09. Could leave @StonyRushing the only Union Co. Republican running as filing opens. #ncpol #ncga" (Tweet). Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  43. ^ https://twitter.com/DrRandPaul/status/1120321223018332160
  44. ^ Schneider, Elena (December 7, 2018). "'Damaged goods': Alleged fraud has GOP bracing for loss of N.C. seat". Politico. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  45. ^ McCready, Dan [@McCreadyForNC] (February 21, 2019). "BREAKING: The Board of Elections just declared a NEW ELECTION in our district. It's important that we start strong. Make a donation to help us get started:" (Tweet). Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  46. ^ a b c d e f "2020 Democratic candidates, hopefuls lend support for McCready in NC's 9th district". The News & Observer. March 27, 2019.
  47. ^ Schiff, Adam [@AdamSchiff] (February 22, 2019). "NC authorities have unanimously called for new elections after uncovering systematic fraud by the Republican candidate's campaign. It's a great day for democracy, and a great day to support Dan McCready – U.S. Marine Corps veteran, entrepreneur, and a formidable challenger" (Tweet). Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  48. ^ Swalwell, Eric [@ericswalwell] (February 25, 2019). "What happened in #NC09 is a travesty. We cannot quietly accept fraud. As we fight against dirty maps, dirty money, and foreign interference, let's start here. Support Dan and stand against fraud" (Tweet). Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  49. ^ "Endorsements". Dan McCready For Congress. March 27, 2019.
  50. ^ "Endorsements". Dan McCready For Congress. March 27, 2019.
  51. ^ Jackson, Jeff [@JeffJacksonNC] (March 5, 2019). "We finally have dates for the new election for NC09. Primary: May 14 General: Sept. 10 I am very proud to once again support my friend and fellow veteran @McCreadyForNC. #ncpol" (Tweet). Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  52. ^ "Endorsements". Dan McCready For Congress. March 27, 2019.
  53. ^ "Endorsements". League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  54. ^ Auster, Craig (March 14, 2018). "LCV Action Fund Endorses Dan McCready for Congress". League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  55. ^ "Endorsements". Dan McCready For Congress. March 27, 2019.
  56. ^ Bruno, Joe [@JoeBrunoWSOC9] (February 21, 2019). "Libertarian candidate @Kleptosclerosis says he will run in the new #NC09 election @wsoctv" (Tweet). Retrieved February 21, 2019 – via Twitter.
  57. ^ http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/382/201903019145597382/201903019145597382.pdf

External links[edit]

Official campaign websites