Politics & Government

9th District Republicans disagree on one thing: Who can beat Democrat Dan McCready?

Ten Republicans are running in the new 9th District primary

The State Board of Elections ordered a new election after allegations of absentee ballot fraud. If none of the candidates gets 30 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held.
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The State Board of Elections ordered a new election after allegations of absentee ballot fraud. If none of the candidates gets 30 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held.

In a field that agrees on most issues, Republicans running in the 9th District special election split over one thing Tuesday night: Who’s the most electable against Democrat Dan McCready?

“In the age of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, socialism and perhaps infanticide, you need to send a warrior to Washington, D.C.,” said state Sen. Dan Bishop. “Someone who can fight with a smile on his face.”

Bishop was one of eight candidates who spoke at a forum sponsored by the Mecklenburg Evening Republican Women’s Club at McKee Road Elementary in southeast Charlotte. Members took a straw poll after the forum.

The eight are among 10 Republicans on the ballot in the May 14 special election for U.S. House called after allegations of election fraud in 2018. McCready is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The candidates generally agreed on issues such as immigration, protecting the 2nd Amendment, restricting abortion and ending the Affordable Care Act. All but one would require a citizenship question on the 2020 census. They disagreed on who has the best chance to beat McCready.

Matthew Ridenhour, a former Marine and Mecklenburg County commissioner, has campaigned on the slogan “It takes a Marine to beat a Marine.” Tuesday he touted his record as a commissioner, working with a Democratic majority to achieve conservative goals such as helping lead a 2013 effort to allow guns in county parks.

He said he’s “stood and served” in public service and the military, and is ready to again.

Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing said he’s a Republican who can appeal to conservative Democrats in the district’s rural eastern counties.

“They are desperately looking for a leader they can get behind,” he said. “We will beat Dan McCready . . . with Democrats and Republicans working together.”

Stevie Rivenbark Hull, a political newcomer from Fayetteville, noted that all but 13 of the 102 women in the U.S. House are Democrats. “It’s time for our party to diversify,” she said.

Real estate broker Leigh Brown of Cabarrus County said she’s temperamentally prepared to get things done. Realtors, she said, talk to a range of people and are generally optimistic. “A little cheerfulness (in Washington) would go a long way,” she said.

Former state Sen. Fern Shubert of Union County said she’s “got a record of getting things done” in Raleigh.

Also attending were Albert Wylie, a physician and former engineer who lives in Carteret County, and Gary Dunn, a perennial candidate from Matthews.

The forum took place on the day campaign finance reports showed Bishop having a 6-1 cash advantage over any other candidate. He had $381,000 on hand at the end of March. The next closest was Ridenhour with $62,000.

“I’m the only candidate who has done the hard work . . . to assemble the kind of campaign to go toe-to-toe with Dan McCready,” Bishop told the forum audience.

Bishop led the straw poll of the nearly 160 people who attended. According to organizers, he had the support of 42 percent of the room; Ridenhour had 30 percent and Rushing had 13 percent.

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