Politics & Government

Pat McCrory rules out 9th District run – but he’s considering two other campaigns

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Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday ruled out running in the 9th Congressional District — but not for governor in 2020 or the U.S. Senate in 2022.

Speaking on his morning talk show on WBT radio, the Charlotte Republican said he’ll make that decision later this year.

“I’m going to do a thorough assessment about running for governor (in 2020) or Senate in 2022, but I’m not ready to make either decision,” McCrory said.

Charlotte’s longest-serving mayor did say he’s ruled out running if there’s a special election in the 9th Congressional District.

The election in November of Republican Mark Harris has been clouded by allegations of election fraud involving absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson counties. The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has twice declined to certify the race.

But last Friday the board dissolved under a court order. The same day, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the House won’t seat Harris when the new Democratic House majority takes office on Thursday. A scheduled Jan. 11 hearing by the state board into the fraud allegations has been indefinitely postponed, pending the appointment of a new board.

If there is a special election for the seat, a new law passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly calls for new primaries as well.

On Monday, outgoing GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger said he would not be a candidate. And on Wednesday, so did McCrory.

“I’m not going to run for Mark Harris’s seat,” McCrory said. “If anything, we ought to give Mark Harris a chance to get the facts out.”

In a news release Monday, Harris said he plans to meet this week with the board of elections staff. A board spokesman said Wednesday that the meeting will take place Thursday.

Saying “politics has been in my blood,” McCrory said his decision on future campaigns would come later.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest already has signaled his interest in the gubernatorial nomination. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to run for re-election.

Because of a change in state law, the primary would be in March 2020, not May. Filing for office would be this December.

GOP Sen. Richard Burr has said he won’t run for another term in 2022, leaving an open seat.

Whatever he does politically, McCrory said he wants to continue to be a voice in public affairs. He talked about the possibility of syndicating his radio show and “expanding outreach” to a new generation. He said he plans to teach leadership this year at a college level, but declined to say where.

Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College.
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