CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Republican Mark Harris addressed the public Wednesday afternoon, hours after declaring he “clearly” won against Democrat Dan McCready in Tuesday’s 9th District race.
“Once all the early and in-person votes were counted late last night, the results showed a clear win for team Harris,” Harris said Wednesday afternoon, at a press conference in front of Matthews Town Hall.
Harris originally declared victory just after midnight and thanked President Donald Trump in a speech to supporters.
“Tonight’s victory that we’re here to celebrate is a result of your hard work and what you did,” Harris said. “I have to say as I look at that map tonight, thank God for Bladen and Union County."
All this came before any word from his opponent, Dan McCready. McCready’s campaign was mostly silent on the very tight congressional race, that came within about a 1% margin, until Wednesday evening when McCready eventually delivered a concession speech at his campaign headquarters in Matthews, putting his support behind Harris.
“Mark and I had a spirited race, and though we had our issues, I never doubted Mark’s commitment to our country, and his love for our country,” McCready said. “I believe when our leaders succeed, all of us succeed, and our country succeeds, and I wish Mark the very best.”
McCready delivered his emotional speech surrounded by his wife and four children, as well as campaign staff and supporters. He alluded to the fact that he might not be finished working towards his political goals. “We may not have won this campaign, but that doesn’t mean we were wrong, and as long as there are people in power who thrive off our division, there is still work to be done.”
The candidates were separated by just under 2,000 votes as of Wednesday afternoon. 135,232 votes were cast for U.S. Marine Corps veteran and solar entrepreneur McCready (49%), while Republican Mark Harris, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, took home the same percentage but with slightly more votes (137,173).
Harris did not let the close numbers concern him, but instead confidently said that he trusts the process and plans on flying to Washington Monday to start orientation to learn the ins and outs of staffing and budgets.
“We slowly crept up, took the lead and then maintained the lead," Harris said regarding the race. He says he plans to pull together groups of business and community leaders to have a discussion on priorities. “My focus is to represent those of the 9th district,” he said.
Harris defeated incumbent Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary for the 9th District seat in May.
About 300 people showed up at McCready’s watch party Tuesday night at the Marriott in SouthPark. They were hoping to hear a victory speech from their candidate. McCready didn’t address the crowd however, his campaign manager greeted the supporters and thanked them for their support.
North Carolina’s 9th District Congressional seat has drawn national interest.
“We always knew this race would be close and sure enough it’s really down to the wire. The results are still coming in and votes are still being counted,” Dan McCready campaign manager Eric Johnson said.
McCready supporters say they were glad they participated in this campaign. Most stayed until the very end and left optimistic. They claim he was a good candidate with a good message.
McCready and Harris faced off for in an hour-long debate on October 10. The debate was sponsored by The Charlotte Observer and WBTV.
The 9th District stretches from southeast Charlotte to Fayetteville. It’s been held by Republicans for more than five decades, but national observers rated it as a toss-up this year.