ROCKINGHAM — As filing for the 9th Congressional District special election came to a close Friday, the field of Republican candidates increased to 10.
Matthew Ridenhour, Chris Anglin, Leigh Thomas Brown, Albert Lee Wiley Jr. and Gary Mitchell Dunn all filed on the final day, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.
They will join Stevie Rivenbark Hull, Stony Rushing, Fern Shubert, Kathie Day and Sen. Dan Bishop in the Republican primary on May 14.
Of the 10 candidates, half are from outside the district, which includes Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson and Union counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Bladen and Cumberland counties:
- Rivenbark, a Fayetteville businesswoman, has an address listed with the SBOE in Fuquay Varina, which is in Wake County.
- Wiley — who has previously run for the U.S. House of Representatives in three districts, for U.S. Senate twice, and for governor of Wisconsin — lives in Salter Path, in Carteret County.
- Anglin, a former Democrat and Republican state Supreme Court candidate, is from Raleigh.
- Brown, a Mecklenburg County realtor, lives in Harrisburg.
- Day, also a Mecklenburg real estate agent, hails from Cornelius.
A quirk in the U.S. Constitution doesn’t require members of the U.S. House of Representatives to live in the district they’re elected to represent, only the state.
Dunn, of Matthews, has run for North Carolina governor as a Republican (1992) and a Democrat (2012) and was a Republican candidate for Charlotte mayor in 2017, according to Ballotpedia.
Ridenhour, a former Mecklenburg County Commissioner and retired Marine, said, “It takes a Marine to beat a Marine,” referring to Democratic challenger Dan McCready.
Bishop, who was recently re-elected to the state Senate, was a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners from 2004-2008, then took a few years off before running for the N.C. House of Representatives in 2014, winning the seat for the 104th District.
Rushing, a Union County commissioner, was endorsed by former candidate Mark Harris, who bowed out because of health issues.
Shubert was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in 1994, 1996 and 2000 and to the state Senate in 2002, according to Ballotpedia. She also ran unsuccessful campaigns for governor in 2004, state Senate in 2010 and state auditor in 2012.
According to Richmond County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Austin, Shubert is supposed to be at the party’s convention Saturday, which begins at 10 a.m. in the jurors quarters of the Richmond County Judicial Center.
No one from the Democratic Party decided to challenge McCready, who trailed Harris by 905 points before the state board declined to certify the race results following accusations of election fraud in Bladen County.
The other candidate from the first election, Charlotte Libertarian Jeff Scott, is also running.
But he’s not the only third-party candidate in the race, as Green Party candidate Allen Smith of Charlotte filed for the special election on Wednesday.
Kevin Hayes, vice chairman of the N.C. Constitution Party, said a few individuals from his party were interested, but one was out of state and unable to file, while the other would rather focus on a race in 2020.
North Carolina recognized the Green and Constitution parties last spring.
The seat has been vacant for more than three months since former Rep. Robert Pittenger, who lost last year’s Republican primary to Harris, left office. Congress was sworn in Jan. 3.