New congressional election draws 13 candidates

In this Thursday, March 7, 2019 photo, North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Stony Rushing poses for a photo during an interview with WFAE in Monroe, N.C., Rushing is running for Congress in the 9th District after the state elections board ordered a new election after hearing evidence of ballot fraud. (Steve Harrison/WFAE via AP )

RALEIGH — Candidate filing is officially closed for the new election being held in the 9th Congressional district (NC-09) and thirteen candidates have filed to run.

Republican Mark Harris will not be re-filing for the seat, citing health reasons.

“Given my health situation, the need to regain full strength, and the timing of this surgery the last week of March, I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9,” Harris said in a statement.

The thirteen who filed include ten Republicans, one Democrat, one Libertarian and one Green Party candidate.

In accordance with N.C.G.S. § 163A-1114(c), a random drawing was conducted by the NC State Board of Elections and the ballot order for the Primary will be alphabetical order by last name and beginning with the letter “F.”

Republicans, in ballot order, are: Stevie Rivenbark Hull, Matthew Ridenhour, Stony Rushing, Fern Shubert, Albert Wiley, Jr., Chris Anglin, Dan Bishop, Leigh Brown, Kathie Day, and Gary Dunn.

The other candidates are Democrat Dan McCready, who ran and lost to Republican Mark Harris in the first election, Libertarian Jeffrey Scott and Green Party Loran Allen Smith.

The primary is set for May 14th. A candidate needs at least 30 percent of the vote or else the second-place candidate is entitled to request a runoff primary. If necessary, the runoff primary will be held Sept 10.

Of the ten Republicans running, five do not live in the NC-09 district. They include Chris Anglin, Leigh Brown, Kathie Day, Stevie Hull and Albert Wiley.

Chris Anglin ran for state supreme court last year after changing his affiliation from Democrat to Republican 11 days before filing. Anglin received enough votes in that election to keep the incumbent Republican, Justice Barbara Jackson, from retaining her seat.

The NC GOP issued a statement regarding Anglin filing for the NC-09 race.

“However, Chris Anglin is not a Republican,” NC GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in the statement. “During the 2018 campaign, Anglin changed his registration from Democrat to Republican in order to split the vote and allow the election of a far-left activist to the State Supreme Court.”

The statement also mentions Anglin’s campaign was financed by an “overwhelming majority of his funds from liberal donors.”

“He will not be allowed to access any GOP data, information, or infrastructure. As allowed by Republican Party rules, our committees with jurisdiction over this matter will confirm my decision in due course,” Hayes said.

“Mr. Chairman and Mr. Woodhouse, I followed the law when filing and I’m running for good reason. You have no right to deny me access to any data you make available to other GOP candidates, nor to interfere in this primary. If you do, you will see me in court,” tweeted Anglin in response.

The NC Republican Party’s General Counsel along with the Mecklenburg County Republican Party Chair Chris Turner and Convention Chair John Lewis released a joint statement concurring with Chairman Hayes.

The joint statement also said that “Mr. Anglin is not welcome at tomorrow’s county convention, and will be removed by the appointed Sgt. of Arms if needed. Democrats used every trick in the book to block the will of the voters in the 9th and they are doing it again. But it won’t happen at our convention.”

The new election in NC-09 was ordered by the NC State Board of Elections after multiple days of evidentiary hearings held in February.

Five people, including McCrae Dowless have been indicted and arrested in connection with the criminal investigation being led by Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.

Dowless is charged with three counts felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots.

Caitlyn Croom and Rebecca Thompson are charged with conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.

Tonia Marie Gordon and Matthew Monroe Mathis are charged with felonious obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.

In addition to the state level investigation, the United States Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section issued a subpoena to the NC State Board of Elections. That subpoena requests “all documents related to the investigation of election irregularities affecting counties within the 9th Congressional District.”

The Public Integrity Section also issued subpoenas to McCrae Dowless and to the Mark Harris campaign.

Three recently released warrants pertaining to the NC-09 investigation contained affidavits showing that the FBI and State Bureau of Investigation had been surveilling Dowless and his associates as far back as May 2018.

The surveillance date was May 3, and the NC-09 Primary was held just five days later. The main target of the warrants were phone, text and bank records.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.