NC Congressman Is First Incumbent To Lose 2018 Race

Pittenger's loss paired with a moderate Democrat could make the seat competitive.

Among the other election news from Tuesday were reports of the first incumbent to be ejected from Congress. The unlucky congressman was Robert Pittenger, a Republican from North Carolina’s 9th district.

Mark Harris, a conservative pastor, upset Pittenger in a race that focused largely on the two candidates’ allegiance to Donald Trump. The Weekly Standard notes that the two men hotly debated who was the first to support Trump in 2016. Harris also criticized Pittenger for his vote for this year’s omnibus spending bill.

Pittenger defeated Harris in the Republican primary by 134 votes two years and then went on to win the general election by 16 points. Trump carried the district by 12 points. On Tuesday, Harris won by two percent or about 800 votes according to unofficial results.

Mark Harris is a Baptist minister and a past president of the North Carolina Baptist Convention. He was heavily involved in the fight to protect traditional marriage in the state.

The 9th district may be competitive in the fall even though a Republican has held the seat since 1963. Dan McCready, the Democratic nominee, is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War, a small business owner and a Harvard graduate. McCready notes on his website that he “was baptized in water from the Euphrates river.”

The 9th district runs from Charlotte east toward Fayetteville and encompasses a wide variety of voters. In addition to Charlotte’s eastern suburbs, it also includes Ft. Bragg and several poor counties in between.

McCready, a moderate Democrat similar to Pennsylvania’s Conor Lamb, has several potential advantages in the race. His military background may play well in the Ft. Bragg area. His website calls for pro-business and fiscally responsible policies in addition to typical Democrat issues such as healthcare and the environment. McCready also promised not to support Nancy Pelosi if he is elected.

In contrast, Harris is vulnerable to attack on some key issues. North Carolina’s WSOC-TV points out that unswerving allegiance to Trump may be a liability in a swing state where the president’s popularity is not high. A recent poll of North Carolinians showed Trump with 43 percent approval and 50 disapproval.

Harris is also likely to excite his Democratic opposition due to his role in the controversial “bathroom bill.” In 2016, Mother Jones described how Harris was among the leaders of opposition to a Charlotte “antidiscrimination” ordinance that would have allowed men who identify as women to use the women’s restroom. Harris’ notoriety means that liberals from around the country can be counted on to support his opponent.

Cook Political Report previously rated North Carolina’s 9th district as “lean Republican” with Pittenger as a candidate, but the seat may become a likely pickup for Democrats now that Harris is the nominee. The combination of a more right-wing Republican and a moderate Democrat could spell trouble for the GOP in November.

Comments
Dave_A
Dave_A

@etbass
"Both would have beaten Hillary, Trump would have lost to Obama in 2008 or 2012"

Yes. Very, very true.

The fact is, that 2014 and 2016 were both due to the other side screwing up badly, moreso than Republican talent.

More our less our only chance in November, is for that same thing to happen again: For the Democrats to do dumb stuff that makes people decide not to give them power.

We cannot rely on the Dems shooting themselves in the foot as a permanent strategy to win elections. Eventually they will stop screwing up.

jaywestfall
jaywestfall

@Greg Halvorson
The Conservative Hammer: 1, RINO-ism 0. :)

FloridaMan
FloridaMan

There is no such thing as a Moderate Democrat because the Party Line is tax-payer funded abortion on demand with no apologies, the complete annihilation of the the State of Israel, Ausralia-style gun control, the eradication of Christianity in the public square and scrubbing of all historical text deemed "Problematic" by academia and the Left, unlike the Right, does not tolerate descent in any shape or form. Every Democrat is a loyal vote because Pelosi and Schumer will whip them (with leather if needed) into shape whenever it counts.

TraderS
TraderS

@Greg Halvorson
The "mushy, moderate, big government RINO" did win, and is occupying the White House today

Sadly said RINO is also going to have a Dem House and quite possibly Dem Senate in a couple months because of how embarrassing and incompetent he is - and voters putting forth candidates who are most similar to the stereotype people hold of that RINO will only increase the strength of said incoming Dem Congress.

So David is likely just upset that "Republican" voters continually give Dems exactly what they want over and over and over again, constantly grasping defeat from the jaws of victory as if suicide is their only mission in life - and its especially frustrating immediately after we saved their entire party by electing the unqualified conman who is the butt of everyone's jokes