The Democratic and Republican candidates running for an open U.S. House seat in North Carolina faced off Wednesday for their first debate, in what’s shaped up to be one of the most closely watched races in the nation.
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Mark Harris, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, defeated incumbent Robert Pittenger this spring in the Republican primary for the 9th District seat.
He’s running against Democrat Dan McCready, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and solar entrepreneur from Charlotte.
The 9th District stretches from southeast Charlotte to Fayetteville. It’s been held by Republicans for more than five decades, but national observers rate it as a toss-up this year. Democrats need to flip 24 seats to regain control of the U.S. House, and the 9th District is seen as one of their best chances to pick up a seat.