Pittenger faces competition for House seat

By: By William R. Toler - Editor
File photo Congressman Robert Pittenger, center, has yet to file for re-election, yet faces challenges from five candidates of three parties.

The race for the U.S. House of Representatives is heating up, but the sitting congressman has yet to enter.

Five candidates from the three parties available on North Carolina’s ballot have all filed for this year’s election. However, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-Charlotte, wasn’t on the list as of noon Tuesday.

A spokesman from the Pittenger campaign said the congressman plans to file on Thursday.

Two candidates from Pittenger’s own Republican party — Mark Harris and Clarence Goins Jr. — are challenging the incumbent, who has been in Congress since 2013.

Harris and Todd Johnson challenged Pittenger in the 2016 Republican primary. During that election, Johnson carried a majority of the rural areas, including his home county of Union.

Early poll results showed him leading the race, but the numbers for Pittenger and Harris began to rise as precincts in Mecklenburg county began reporting.

When the night was over, Pittenger was declared the winner with 135 more votes than Harris — the margin of votes less than 1 percent of the total votes cast — resulting in a recount won by the incumbent.

If Pittenger files and makes it past the primary, he will face the winner of the Democratic primary — either newcomer Dan McCready or Christian Cano, who also ran in 2016 — and Libertarian Jeff Scott.

The 9th Congressional District comprises Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Cumberland and Bladen counties.

All candidates registered so far are from Charlotte — aside from Goins, who is from Eastover in Cumberland County.

When it comes to the state General Assembly, Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, is currently in the clear; however, Sen. Tom McInnis will have to make it past both the Republican primary and the general election if he wants to return to Raleigh.

Whispering Pines Mayor Michelle Lexo filed for the District 25 state Senate seat in Moore County on Friday.

Lexo made history in 2015 when she became the village’s first female mayor, after serving three years on the council. She also serves on several county committees.

“This is a new senate district and I think it is important that we give the voters a good alternative,” she said, according to the Aberdeen Times. “I have several issues I want to focus on as we move forward with education being at the top of the list.”

The new Senate map takes away Stanly and part of Rowan County from McInnis’ district, but adds Moore County to the remaining Richmond, Anson and Scotland.

Moore County Democrat Helen Probst Mills is also challenging McInnis in the Senate race.

McInnis, R-Richmond, won the seat in the 2014 election after defeating incumbent Democrat Gene McLaurin, who only served one term. He retained his seat in 2016 following a challenge by Anson County educator and Democrat Dannie Montgomery.

Only one other candidate on the Anson County ballot is, so far, facing a challenge.

County Commissioner Jim Sims, of Polkton, will be defending his District 4 seat against Ashley Turner Drake, of Peachland.

Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant (District 2) is currently running unopposed and Lee Roy Lookabill is running unopposed for Chairwoman Anna Baucom’s District 5 seat. Baucom has not filed.

With the Anson County Board of Education, incumbents George Truman (District 5), Lisa Davis (District 4), Bobbie Little (District 2) and Marilynn Bennett (at-large) are all unopposed.

Gay Lookabill, who was recently appointed to fill out the rest of Brian Johnson’s term, has to collect 689 signatures by May 8 to be on the November ballot, according to Elections Director Steve Adams.

Anson is one of 23 counties in the state to have partisan school board elections, Adams said.

Sheriff Landric Reid, District Attorney Reece Saunders (of Richmond County) and Clerk of Superior Court Mark Hammonds — all Democrats — are currently running unchallenged.

Filing for county, state and federal candidates ends at noon Feb. 28.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or wtoler@yourdailyjournal.com.

File photo
Congressman Robert Pittenger, center, has yet to file for re-election, yet faces challenges from five candidates of three parties.
https://www.ansonrecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_pittenger_cityhall-1.jpgFile photo
Congressman Robert Pittenger, center, has yet to file for re-election, yet faces challenges from five candidates of three parties.
Congressman has yet to file for re-election

By William R. Toler