Home Local News Air Force veteran, state Sen. Ben Clark running for Congress in 9th...

Air Force veteran, state Sen. Ben Clark running for Congress in 9th District

State Sen. Ben Clark, an Air Force veteran, is running for the 9th Congressional District seat.

ROCKINGHAM — A Sandhills state senator will be challenging a sitting U.S. representative for the 9th Congressional district in the upcoming election.

Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, filed for congressional run on Monday, according to records with the N.C. Board of Elections.

Clark has been elected to five terms in the N.C. Senate and his district includes Hoke and part of Cumberland County.

He first announced his bid in November for the 4th Congressional District under the original maps created by the General Assembly. At the time, that district included Cumberland, Sampson, Johnston, all but the northern tip of Harnett and southeastern Wayne counties.

However, the original maps were shot down by the N.C. Supreme Court and state legislators were forced to go back to the proverbial drawing board.

A three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals — including Richmond County Superior Court Judge Dawn Layton — struck the remedial map as well, and went with one drawn by former state Supreme Court Justices Bob Orr and Bob Edmonds, along with former UNC System president Thomas Ross.

That map splits Richmond County, with most of the eastern third being part of the 9th Congressional District and the western two-thirds being in the 8th District.

According to the biography on Clark’s campaign website, he was born at Womack Army Hospital at Fort Bragg to a helicopter pilot and teacher and raised in Fayetteville with his two siblings, graduating from Seventy-First High School.

Clark studied industrial technology at N.C. A&T University, where he was also in the ROTC program. He joined the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant and retired 20 years later as a lieutenant colonel.

“Today our nation stands at a crossroad,” Clark said in a Nov. 22 candidacy announcement. “Either we continue the forward march toward a more perfect union; or we turn back and break our bonds of affection forever.”

Citing his years of public service in the Air Force and General Assembly, Clark said that he has “always stood on the front line of the fight — for this country, for the republic, for the community, for our future.”

“In Washington, I will continue to fight for the ideals we hold so dear,” Clark continued. “The American spirit is one that fiercely protects and promotes liberty, freedom, a strong and thriving economy, prosperity for every family and a better future for our children.


“America’s best days are in front of her but we must keep running toward this fight. It is a fight we simply must win.”

As of 5:30 p.m., there was nothing on Clark’s campaign Facebook page about filing to run in the 9th District.

Clark has faced and overcome residency challenges in the past, according to reports from the Carolina Journal.

Dallas Woodhouse, writing for the Carolina Journal, said in Feb. 14 column that Clark “has long fought” for a Sandhills congressional district.

The rest of the 9th District includes Scotland, Hoke, Lee, Chatham and Randolph counties in addition to northwest Cumberland and western Harnett counties — but not U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson’s home county of Cabarrus.

Hudson last week filed for reelection in the 9th District.

Hudson, a Republican, has represented, at some point, eight of the nine counties in the new district, with Chatham being the exception, according to the congressman’s office. Hudson also had an office in Richmond County at one time before maps were redrawn in 2016.

The RO asked Hudson’s office if he planned to move from his home in Concord to the district he plans to represent, but there was no response by the time of this writing.

However, he doesn’t have to since a quirk in the U.S. Constitution doesn’t require congressmen to live in the district they represent. 

In the Republican primary for the 2019 special election for what was then the 9th District, which was won by Dan Bishop, half of the 10 candidates lived outside the district.

Bishop is running for the 8th District, which also includes Anson, Union, Montgomery, Stanly, Rowan and Davidson counties, as well as eastern Cabarrus.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.