Challenges mount

By: By William R. Toler - Editor

ROCKINGHAM — The race for the U.S. House of Representatives is heating up, but the sitting congressman has yet to enter.

Five candidates from the three parties available on North Carolina’s ballot have all filed for this year’s election. However, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-Charlotte, wasn’t on the list as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Two candidates from Pittenger’s own Republican party — Mark Harris and Clarence Goins Jr. — are challenging the incumbent, who has been in Congress since 2013.

Harris and Todd Johnson challenged Pittenger in the 2016 Republican primary. During that election, Johnson carried a majority of the rural areas, including his home county of Union.

Early poll results showed him leading the race, but the numbers for Pittenger and Harris began to rise as precincts in Mecklenburg county began reporting.

When the night was over, Pittenger was declared the winner with 135 more votes than Harris — the margin of votes less than 1 percent of the total votes cast — resulting in a recount won by the incumbent.

If Pittenger files and makes it past the primary, he will face the winner of the Democratic primary — either newcomer Dan McCready or Christian Cano, who also ran in 2016 — and Libertarian Jeff Scott.

The 9th Congressional District comprises Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Cumberland and Bladen counties.

All candidates registered so far are from Charlotte — aside from Goins, who is from Eastover in Cumberland County.

A spokesman from the Pittenger campaign said the congressman plans to file on Thursday.


Richmond County Elections Director Connie Kelly said Tuesday that there had been no additional filings since Friday.

In the race for the Board of Commissioners, there are three Democrats (Herb Long, Don Bryant and Tavares Bostic), one Republican (Ben Moss) and one unaffiliated candidate (Michael Campbell). Campbell has collected about 100 of his 1,202 signatures — due May 8 — to be included in the November ballot, Kelly said.

Unless more candidates file, there will not be a primary for the commissioners’ race, she added.

The Board of Education contest is non-partisan and so far features incumbents Bobbie Sue Ormsby, Irene Pittman Aiken and Joe Richardson pitted against challengers Daryl Mason, Pat Campbell and J.L. “Reverend” McCullers.

Sheriff James Clemmons, District Attorney Reece Saunders (of Richmond County) and Clerk of Superior Court Vickie Daniel — all Democrats — are currently running unchallenged.

Two incumbents, Commissioner Thad Ussery and school board member Don Greene, have yet to file.

Filing for county, state and federal candidates ends at noon Feb. 28.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]






File photo Congressman Robert Pittenger, center, has yet to file for re-election, yet faces challenges from five candidates of three parties. photo Congressman Robert Pittenger, center, has yet to file for re-election, yet faces challenges from five candidates of three parties.
Pittenger faces competition in re-election bid

By William R. Toler