Ten names are on the ballot Tuesday for the Republican primary in North's Carolina 9th congressional district. Depending on the outcome, either a runoff or the special election will take place on September 10. The eventual nominee will face Dan McCready - who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination - to fill a congressional seat that has been vacant since the start of the 116th Congress in January.
Results will appear below after the polls close at 7:30 PM Eastern Time.
Three late April polls showed State Sen. Dan Bishop as the frontrunner, with 30-36% of the vote. Bishop is most well-known for sponsoring the state's "bathroom bill", which gained wide notoriety before being partially repealed in 2017. County Commissioner Stony Rushing was seeing between 17-19% support and, if the polling proves reasonably accurate, is likely to finish 2nd. Two others, County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour and Realtor Leigh Brown also seem to be viable.
30% needed to avoid a possible runoff
If no candidate reaches 30% of the vote, the 2nd place candidate can request a runoff. However, it is not required. Rushing has said he will not pursue a runoff if he finishes 2nd to Bishop, although he would have nine days to change his mind. If a runoff is required in September, the general election will take place on November 5.
How did we get here?
The GOP incumbent, Robert Pittenger, lost the 2018 primary to Mark Harris, a pastor. Harris went on to what appeared to be a narrow win over Marine veteran Dan McCready in the November midterms. However, that result was never certified due to allegations of fraud. In late February, after a multi-day hearing, the State Board of Elections ordered a new election to be held. Harris chose not to pursue a rematch with McCready, who faced no opposition from within his party.
Special Election Outlook
Although Donald Trump won this district by about 11.5% in 2016, the 2018 race between Harris and McCready was expected to be highly competitive and turned out that way. Harris received about 900 more votes than McCready on Election Day. As of now, most pundits see the special election to be a toss-up. However, those ratings could change once the GOP nominee and the date of the special election (September vs. November) are known. If Bishop is the Republican nominee, the race will likely take on a larger national profile.