Dr. Mark Harris, a pastor and conservative vying against Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) for the House seat representing North Carolina’s nine district in the 2018 mid-term elections, spoke with Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 with Matt Boyle, Washington political editor for Breitbart News, about standing up to the Republican establishment, including Karl Rove-backed members.
Boyle asked Harris about Pittenger, who recently hosted a fundraiser that featured Rove, described by Boyle as “vehemently anti-Donald Trump” and a political operative who has “brought down many Republicans across the country.”
Why would Pittenger want to associate himself with Rove,” Boyle inquired, as Trump told Breitbart News before he was elected that the former senior adviser to President George W. Bush was a “dishonorable guy.”
“I think it probably, as much as anything, demonstrates what we’ve really been trying to proclaim across this district and that is that they’ve just lost touch,” Harris said. “Robert Pittenger lost touch.”
“He sold out his district,” Harris said. “He’s joined the club. He’s not standing on the truest conservative principles. He’s not been effective, and he’s not a leader in the U.S. House.”
Harris said there are lines being drawn in Washington between true conservatives and the establishment wing of the GOP.
“It just really demonstrates, if you will, where the lines are being drawn,” Harris said. “It clearly shows where everyone stands and Robert’s aligning himself with the Karl Roves and the Mitch McConnell and the other Washington elites who have created a swamp and who are all about doing whatever it takes to preserve the status quo.”
“And that’s what we’re trying to expose and trying to communicate across the ninth district of North Carolina,” Harris said.
Boyle asked Harris — who lost to Pittenger in last year’s special election by only 134 votes — about a range of issues facing Congress right now, including the failure of Congress to get President Donald Trump’s agenda put in place despite Republicans having a majority in both chambers and a Republican president in the White House, including not repealing and replacing Obamacare or building a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
“How do we get this focus back to the right place where we can focus on the agenda that President Trump campaigned on in 2016 when he won in a groundswell all across the country because people were fed up with Washington?” Boyle said. “How do we get back to that? How do we get focused and start getting things done that the people care about, not that the Washington Swamp cares about?”
“Well you’re not going to get that back until you start sending leaders who really and truly have a life record of really standing on principle, standing to do what’s right and are not going to be shaken and held hostage by the Washington establishment,” Harris said. “You look at what just happened in Alabama. I have great hopes in what we’re going to see from what I hope to soon be Sen. Roy Moore and how he’s going to be able to stand there in Alabama.”
“It’s going to take folks like Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), who has certainly been leading the charge,” Harris said. “People who have the conservative principles, but they know what they believe before they get there, and they’re not going to be focused more on re-election than doing what’s right for the American people.”
“That’s where we’ve got to get back to — people that are more concerned in doing what’s right for our nation than they are in just getting re-elected,” Harris said.
Harris expressed disappointment that the efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have not included some of the provisions that Republicans put in past legislation, including health savings accounts, insurance sales across state lines, and caps on lawsuits against the medical community.
“Republicans actually had ideas several years ago,” Harris said.
Boyle also asked Harris about trade and tax reform, with Harris responding that he liked the tax plan so far that Republicans recently introduced and wants to follow Trump’s lead by making sure trade deals benefit American workers and American industries. He also described himself as a “firm supporter” of building a wall to secure the border.
But Harris stressed that the most important thing required to get Trump’s agenda — the agenda that the American people elected him to achieve — will be electing true conservatives in the House and the Senate — like himself.
“I think that we’ve got to give up the Washington speak that we’ve been hearing over and over again and, again, I’m going to be that leader that has a life record, who won’t back down, who won’t give in, who’s more concerned about doing what’s right for our nation than just getting reelected, and I have a track record of being that kind of leader right here in North Carolina,” Harris said–“standing for conservative Christian values, and I haven’t backed down yet, and I’m not going to back down in Washington, DC.”
In June, Harris stepped down as pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church to concentrate on his House race.