ROCKINGHAM — With one day left of filing for the 9th District special election, the field of Republican candidates has increased by three.
State Sen. Dan Bishop, R-Mecklenburg, officially entered the race on Thursday, according to the N.C. Board of Elections.
Bishop has worked his way up the political ladder since the turn of the century.
He 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.
Two years later, he was elected to a seat in the state Senate and was just re-elected last November.
Also filing on the fourth day were two Republican women: Stevie Rivenbark Hull of Fayetteville and Kathie C. Day of Cornelius.
While Cornelius, in northern Mecklenburg County, is technically outside the 9th District, Day is still allowed to run as 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.
The Charlotte Observer reports that former Mecklenburg County commissioner Matthew Ridenhour also mailed in his paperwork.
The Republican primary will be competitive as Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing and former state legislator Fern Shubert filed earlier in the week.
Dan McCready, who ran against Republican Mark Harris and Libertarian Jeff Scott for the 9th District seat last year is the only Democrat to file so far.
While McCready could be challenged from within his own party, state Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin previously told the RO that he was unaware of anyone planning to do so.
Only 905 votes separated McCready and Harris before accusations were made of election fraud in Bladen County, causing the state board to hold off on certifying the results.
The 9th Congressional District includes Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson and Union counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Bladen and Cumberland counties.
The only two counties to predominantly favor Harris were Union and Bladen. McCready won the majority in Richmond, Anson, Scotland, Robeson, Cumberland and Mecklenburg counties.
The race was closest in Richmond County with McCready leading by only 2 percent or 281 votes.
Following an evidentiary hearing, Harris, who had been making preparations to go to Washington, withdrew.
Leslie McCrae Dowless, who was hired by Harris for get-out-the-vote efforts, was arrested and charged, along with several others.
Shortly after the state board called for a new election, Harris announced he would not re-enter the race due to health problems.
Scott is also running again, but he’s not the only third-party candidate in the race. The Green Party’s Allen Smith filed to run on Wednesday.
Kevin Hayes, vice chairman of the N.C. Constitution Party, told the RO that while they’re not completely ruling it out, party leaders don’t anticipate anyone running for the 9th District seat.
North Carolina recognized the Green and Constitution parties last spring.
The seat in the U.S. House of Representatives 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.
Filing ends on Friday.