Mark Harris is taking another bite at the Congressional apple

FILE - Mark Harris speaks to the media during a news conference, Nov. 7, 2018, in Matthews, N.C. The former North Carolina congressional candidate whose 2018 race was linked to allegations of absentee ballot fraud that led to a new election and charges against others is running again for the U.S. House. Harris, a Republican, announced on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, that he will run for the 8th Congressional District seat currently held by GOP U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, who last month revealed plans to run for state attorney general. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

RALEIGH — Mark Harris wants another bite at the apple with his bid for North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District seat.  

The 8th district includes Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly and Union Counties as well as portions of Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Robeson Counties. In addition to Harris, Republican candidates vying for the spot in the March 5 Primary include Allen Baucom, John Bradford, Don Brown, Leigh Brown and Chris Maples. 

In an interview with North State Journal last week, Harris talked about his past bid for the state’s 9th District seat, the challenges facing the country are, and those who are backing his current candidacy.  

“Well, obviously we have relationships throughout this district and having won in 2018 it looks slightly different,” Harris said about running again. He added the district looked slightly different county-wise but said “Overall it’s very, very similar to what it was in 2018 when I ran there.”  

Harris said he had not anticipated running until Republican Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-08) decided this past summer he would run for North Carolina’s attorney general spot.  

“And when he did, my wife and I began to pray about and decide whether or not we were going to step back into it and try to win this seat that we felt like we had won fair and square in 2018,” said Harris, adding that the State Board of Elections failed to certify him for the seat.  

Issues with ballot harvesting conducted during that election cycle by the now-deceased political operative McCray Dowless resulted in a new special election being held for the seat despite Harris winning the first election. Harris was later cleared of wrongdoing by the board of elections.

“We are taking another bite at the apple because the problems and issues that we ran on in 2018,” said Harris. “I tell folks all the time things have become exponentially more dangerous than in 2018. And that theme then was that we gotta build the border wall, we’ve got to take care of our southern border and stop this immigration flow. And man, when you look at it today, it’s a far cry from what it was in 2018.”  

“Same thing with the national debt I was saying again, we’ve got to get our debt under control. I still remember many speeches, $21 trillion in debt and how dangerous this was for our country and how unhealthy it was for our economy. And now we’re looking at $21 trillion in the rearview mirror at more than $34 trillion now.”  

Harris also mentioned the need to rebuild our military which had begun under former President Donald Trump.  

“Now our military has become a social engineering experiment and we just genuinely have felt the need to call for stronger leadership in our U.S. military – at the top ranks,” said Harris. “I feel like the new administration will try to restore that. So again, the issues were are very much the same as they were in 2018. We’re just facing a much more difficult path now.”  

After the 2019 special election, Harris joined the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., a “nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to articulating and advancing a family-centered philosophy of public life.” Harris has been the vice president of the Association of Churches and Ministries for the organization.  

“Listen, we’ve just got to get our nation back on track,” Harris said. “I’m the only candidate that has been endorsed by the House Freedom Fund, which is very close to the Freedom Caucus that Dan Bishop has been a significant part of.”  

Harris also noted Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is running for governor, has also given him an endorsement. He added he was “so very thankful” to have received an endorsement by the NC Values Coalition.  

“I was very honored,” said Harris. “I was the first endorsement that they issued in this ‘24 election.”  

“I totally understand what we’re after and what we’re trying to accomplish. And you know, there’s been a lot of hit piece ads that some of my opponents have run and I can only figure that the reason I’m the target is I must be leading,” said Harris. “I don’t know, but polling would indicate perhaps that that is indeed the case.”  

About A.P. Dillon 1253 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_