Pittenger Appears to Squeak By in N.C. GOP Primary

Republican House incumbent leads Mark Harris by 1 point, recount possible

Rep. Robert Pittenger had a narrow primary lead in a reconfigured 9th District that is largely new to him. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger chalked up a narrow lead Tuesday night in a reconfigured 9th District that is largely new to him .    

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Pittenger led Charlotte pastor Mark Harris 35 to 34 percent. Ex-Union County Commissioner Todd Johnson was in third place with 31 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press. Pittenger led Harris by 142 votes, according to the State Board of Elections. Harris did not concede Tuesday night. “We kind of owe it to the district to do a recount,” said Harris campaign manager Mike Knoop.   

There is no runoff provision for North Carolina's House primaries this year, but Harris would be entitled to a recount.   

Harris, a failed 2014 Senate candidate, is known for pushing a state amendment that would have banned same-sex marriages in North Carolina.   

Court-mandated redistricting shifted Pittenger's seat from south of Charlotte eastward. It now stretches from Southeast Charlotte to Cumberland County.  The new district covers two media markets — Charlotte and Raleigh.  

The FBI and IRS have been investigating allegations that Pittenger improperly transferred money from his real estate company to his 2012 campaign account.    

Pittenger claimed to have been endorsed by Donald Trump on Monday. But the endorsement came from "NC Team Trump," and not directly from the presumptive GOP nominee.  

He was endorsed by state and national Right to Life and the National Rifle Association.   

Pittenger will face Democrat Christian Cano in November.   

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