Friday, March 15, 2019

Major Republican Contenders in the NC-9 Special Election

We've been watching the slow progress this week of candidates filing to run in the NC-9 special congressional election. Filing officially ends this afternoon, so other big names may appear, but at the moment Dan McCready, who ran a close race against Mark Harris last fall, is the only Democrat who's filed. There's one Libertarian, Jeff Scott of Charlotte, and one Green Party candidate, Allen Smith of Charlotte, and six Republican candidates.

The Republicans run the gamut from the unserious (Stony Rushing) to the deadly serious, state Sen. Dan Bishop, who wanted so badly to frisk suspicious individuals before they visited a public toilet, and former state Sen. Fern Shubert, who served in the General Assembly with Virginia Foxx and is just as mean as Foxx, with maybe not as much makeup.

Fern Shubert -- A certified public accountant from Marshville with a long elective history, though she's been out of the public eye for some time. According to Ballotpedia, she was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1994, was reelected for three more terms, then ran for and was elected to the state Senate in 2002. In 2004, she unsuccessfully ran for governor in the Republican primary (one of six candidates, the only woman, and she placed 5th). She attempted to return to the state Senate in 2010 and lost to Sen. Tommy Tucker (who had a big interest in running in this special election but who announced he wouldn't a couple of days ago). In 2012, she ran for State Auditor and got only 18% of the vote in the Republican primary. Though most recently a three-time loser, Shubert has no lack of confidence in herself: “I have a huge head start on name recognition and I’m a known quality,” she said. “You can spend $1 million telling people what you’re going to do. But people can see what I’ve done.” Well maybe. But she would seem to be the major competition for...

Dan Bishop -- Currently a state Senator representing District 39 in Mecklenburg County, the last surviving Republican member in the General Assembly from that county after last November's blue wave. He's powerful in the state Senate, chairing the Redistricting and Elections Committee (meaning he's an accomplished gerrymanderer) and chairing both the Health Committee and the Committee on Appropriations for Health (meaning he's been at the forefront of stopping the expansion of Medicaid in the state). Most famously, Bishop was the co-sponsor in 2016 of HB2, the notorious "bathroom bill" that cost North Carolina and most especially Charlotte millions in investment and tourism money. He's rumored to be planning to spend $250,000 of his own money in this race. He'll need a lot more than that to first get by Fern Shubert (and the other, lesser known Republicans in that primary) and then face the very well funded Dan McCready.

Election schedule: Republican primary, May 14. General election: September 10, unless a primary run-off election is required, in which case the run-off will occur on Sept. 10, with the general election pushed to November 5. Odds are that a primary run-off will be required. A candidate must get to 30% of the vote to avoid a run-off.

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