CHARLOTTE, NC (The Charlotte Observer) - The Democratic and Republican candidates running for an open U.S. House seat in North Carolina will face off Wednesday for their first debate, in what’s shaped up to be one of the most closely watched races in the nation.
Mark Harris, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, defeated incumbent Robert Pittenger this spring in the Republican primary for the 9th District seat.
He’s running against Democrat Dan McCready, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and solar entrepreneur from Charlotte.
The debate is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. It will air on WBTV, and will be available to stream live on Facebook via the WBTV and Charlotte Observer pages.
The 9th District stretches from southeast Charlotte to Fayetteville. It’s been held by Republicans for more than five decades, but national observers rate it as a toss-up this year.
Democrats need to flip 24 seats to regain control of the U.S. House, and the 9th District is seen as one of their best chances to pick up a seat.
The Harris-McCready election has drawn intense interest.
President Donald Trump came to Charlotte in August to raise money for Harris and another Republican seen as vulnerable, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.
The president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., is coming to Charlotte on Tuesday for another Harris fundraiser. Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, will campaign for Harris on Monday.