Spending money on a NC race, Nancy Pelosi group becomes a target of the GOP candidate

Republican Mark Harris lashes out at Democrat Dan McCready over new ads.
Republican Mark Harris lashes out at Democrat Dan McCready over new ads. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

No congressional race in the state has seen more outside spending than North Carolina’s 9th District. And now the target of that spending, Republican Mark Harris, is using it to lash out at his opponent.

On Wednesday the House Majority PAC, tied to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, will report spending $227,600 against Harris. That’s the most outside spending by any group so far in North Carolina congressional races.

Harris has criticized his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, for taking money from a group tied to Pelosi.

“My opponent campaigns as a moderate but is happy to benefit from hundreds of thousands of Nancy Pelosi’s dollars,” Harris said in a statement. “He should disavow the ads or invite Leader Pelosi into the district . . .”

Ninth Congressional district candidate Dan McCready responds to a question during at a forum last spring. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Of the 24 House GOP candidates targeted by the super PAC, only three have been hit with more spending than Harris, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“From day one, I’ve said I wouldn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi,” McCready said in a statement. “That’s never going to change . . . While my opponent focuses on political stunts and the politics of division, I’m going to stay focused on bringing people together to get things done for North Carolina.”

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Mark Harris is welcomed by supporters and goes on to claim victory over incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary for the N.C. 9th Congressional District seat.

The 9th District, which runs from Charlotte to Bladen County, is one of North Carolina’s most competitive. It’s been in Republican hands for six decades. But Harris beat three-term incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger in the GOP primary. Now some analysts call the race a toss-up.

McCready has had a big fundraising advantage. He had $1.8 million on hand at the end of June to Harris’ $296,000, according to the Federal Election Commission. Last month a poll by the conservative Civitas Institute showed McCready with a 7-point lead.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi J. Scott Applewhite AP

Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, is a frequent target for Republicans. USA Today reported in April that she’d been the subject of a third of all campaign ads in House GOP races. A poll in June found North Korean leader Kim Jong Un more popular than Pelosi among Republicans.

One PAC ad criticizes Harris for his support of December’s $1.5 trillion tax cut bill. The ad says the tax cuts help the wealthy, not the middle class, and increase the national debt.

In March, McCready told the Observer that he wouldn’t support Pelosi for re-election as Democratic leader.

“The fact is leaders of both parties have let us down,” he said. “It’s time for a change. And that starts at the top.”

Jim Morrill, 704-358-5059; @jimmorrill