Baptist Pastor Joins GOP Field to Challenge NC Sen. Hagan

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 02:19 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A conservative Charlotte pastor is joining the crowded race in the wide-open Republican primary to pick a challenger to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

The Rev. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church, has tapped former GOP Congressman Robin Hayes to help lead his campaign, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Hayes, a high-powered Republican in the Tar Heel State, is also the former chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Harris, who is also president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, is set to formally announce his candidacy on Oct. 2.

"It’s going to take a grassroots movement of people willing to sacrifice, willing to get involved, maybe people who have never gotten involved before," Harris told the newspaper.

Other GOP candidates who have already declared include North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, physician and tea party activist Greg Brannon, and nurse practitioner Heather Grant. State Senate leader Phil Berger is also mulling a run.

Hagan, a top GOP target next year, defeated Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole in the 2008 election to take over the U.S. Senate seat. Hagan's win marked the first time a woman had defeated an incumbent woman in a Senate election.




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