Mark Harris, the Charlotte pastor who helped lead the fight to ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina, filed on Friday to run in the June 7 Republican primary to represent the newly drawn 9th Congressional District.
Harris is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in uptown Charlotte. “I’m committed to advancing the conservative principles that are representative of hard-working families in the 9th district,” he said.
He joins incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte. Pittenger has said his former land investment company is subject to an FBI investigation, but says he’s done nothing wrong. Republican Todd Johnson, a Monroe businessman, has also announced his candidacy.
Harris, 49, ran an unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2014. He is best known as a point man for a state amendment to ban same-sex marriages that was ultimately found unconstitutional.
More recently, he led forces to repeal protections in Charlotte for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. This week, state legislators approved a bill invalidating protections.