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Trump to Rally in North Carolina for Mark Harris in Key Congressional Toss-Up Race

Republican senatorial candidate Mark Harris speaks during a live televised debate at UNC-TV studios in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Monday, April 28, 2014. (AP Photo/ Pool)
AP Photo/ Pool

President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, Friday night to support the campaign of Dr. Mark Harris, the Republican nominee who is in a close race against Democrat nominee Dan McCready in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

The rally will be held at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte at 7 p.m., and the doors will open at 4 p.m. As has been the case with all of President Trump’s recent rallies, a large crowd is expected to be in attendance.

The 9th Congressional District “is located in the southern portion of the state and includes all or parts of Mecklenburg (Charlotte), Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson, Bladen, and Cumberland counties,” Ballotpedia notes.

When the rally was announced last week, Harris immediately tweeted his appreciation to the president for coming to support his candidacy:

“Trump’s visit is intended to boost the campaign of Republican Mark Harris, a former pastor running for the 9th District congressional seat against Democrat Dan McCready, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and businessman. McCready has raised more money than Harris, and election forecasts rate the race as a toss-up,” the Winston Salem Journal reported.

Breitbart News has identified this race as one of the 20 remaining toss-up races whose outcome will determine which party controls the House of Representatives when the 117th Congress convenes in Washington in January.

Harris upset incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC-09) in the May Republican primary. Harris identified himself as a strong supporter of the Trump agenda, while Pittenger was lukewarm in his support of the president.

In an interview in May on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday with Matt Boyle, Washington political editor for Breitbart News just days after his primary victory, Harris said that Pittenger’s support for the $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending bill that President Trump opposed but signed reluctantly in order to keep the military funded, “was a real turning point in our race.”

“There was a lot of frustration and a lot of anger on the part of conservatives who went to the polls and made that clear. Just working the polls, we heard that time and again,” Harris told Boyle.

Harris has promised that he will join the Freedom Caucus of populist conservatives who support the Trump agenda if elected.

The first poll in the race released two months later in July by the Civitas Institute, a North Carolina 501 (c) (3) nonprofit public policy organization, showed Harris trailing McCready by seven points, 43 percent to 36 percent.

“This race has all the indications of being a nail-biter into November, but Republicans should be concerned with a negative 7-point spread in a district that has an R+7 rating,” Civitas President Donald Bryson said at the time.

“This poll went into the field on the same day a news story broke regarding a 2013 sermon by Rev. Harris on the role of women in the household. With women constituting 53 percent of the poll and breaking towards McCready by a 16-point margin, it seems that the story may have had some effect,” Bryson added.

The most recently completed poll, however, conducted by the New York Times Upshot/Siena College between October 1 and October 5, shows that Harris has jumped into the lead by five points, 47 percent to 42 percent.

Another poll, conducted at virtually the same time by SurveyUSA between October 2 and October 4, in contrast, shows McCready with a four-point lead, 45 percent to 41 percent.

Rep. Tedd Budd (R-NC-13) is also expected to be in attendance at the rally, though he represents a district in the Winston-Salem area.

“Trump visited Charlotte in August to support Harris and Ted Budd, another Republican in a tight race. Democrat Kathy Manning is challenging Budd in the 13th district, which runs from Iredell County to Greensboro, in another race that could be a toss-up,” the Journal reported.

Though Budd’s race is close, it is not included as one of the 20 remaining toss-up races whose outcome will determine which party controls the House of Representatives.

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