CHARLOTTE – Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Mark Harris in a new election to decide who will represent the 9th District in Congress.
The State Board of Elections ordered a new election Feb. 21 after Harris conceded during a hearing that a new election was warranted. The dates for primary and general elections have not yet been set.
Harris is bowing out of that campaign, opting to endorse Rushing and focus on his health. Harris acknowledged during the hearing that he developed a severe infection in January and suffered two strokes. He also has a surgery scheduled for March.
“Neither I nor any of the leadership of my campaign were aware of or condoned the improper activities that have been testified to in this hearing,” Harris said. “Through the testimony I’ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It’s become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election has been warranted.”
Harris later posted a letter to supporters on Facebook, asking for privacy as he prepares for surgery. He called for a “solid conservative leader” to replace him in the campaign, specifically mentioning Rushing.
Rushing, who owns Take Aim Training, has served as a county commissioner from 2002 to 2006 and since 2014.
“His background and his experience have proven him to stand firm on so many of the issues that concern us, including the issue of life, our national security and religious freedom,” Harris wrote. “I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing.”
Since earning Harris’ endorsement, Rushing has been the target of increased media exposure and barbs from Democrats.
Cole Leiter, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, described Harris’ endorsement as “the kiss of death” and wished Rushing luck “as he is forced to answer on a daily basis for why he would ever willingly associate himself with Mark Harris.”
Political opponents have used a photo of Rushing dressed like the Boss Hogg character from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show to rally support. Rushing was unfazed by it, posting one such meme of him in the outfit on his Facebook page.
“Love from the left,” he quipped.