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Friday, May 24, 2024

House Speaker Moore says he’s running for Congress

North Carolina’s House Speaker Tim Moore says he will run for Congress next year.

The Cleveland County Republican confirmed his intentions Friday at an event at Gaston College and says he will make a formal announcement on Monday.

He will run in the reconfigured 14th U.S. House District, which includes western Mecklenburg County, all of Gaston, Cleveland, Burke and Rutherford counties, and eastern Polk County.

“Look at our record in the legislature. I’m proud of that track record and what we’ve done in this state,” says Moore.

Moore is in a record fifth two-year term as speaker. He pointed out that state lawmakers in North Carolina have cut taxes, reduced the state’s debt and presented a balanced budget. He also hit on social issues like the state law that allows transgender people to participate in high school sports in the gender assigned at birth and a ban on “sanctuary cities” regarding illegal immigration.

“Those are the things that we’ve been able to accomplish in North Carolina, but in Washington, that hasn’t been the case,” says Moore.

A redrawn map of North Carolina’s congressional districts enacted last week by the GOP-controlled General Assembly created the new Republican-leaning 14th District. Moore says the district runs from the Charlotte airport to the foothills. It also includes Moore’s hometown of Kings Mountain, where he’s an attorney.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, currently represents the district after he defeated Republican candidate Pat Harrigan in the 2022 election. Jackson announced last month he would run for state Attorney General, saying Republican lawmakers gerrymandered the district making it impossible for a Democrat to win.

Harrigan, who lives in Gastonia and has a strong military background, is also running for the 14th District seat. Harrigan is a partner at ZRODelta, a weapons manufacturer in Burke County with 50-plus employees. It does manufacture guns and ammunition, but is primarily known for its providing parts to the firearms industry, according to its website. The business has operated in Rutherford College since 2018.

Harrigan released a statement Friday critical of Moore on two fronts: Moore’s work several years ago with the Catawba Indian tribe to secure land for its casino operations in Kings Mountain and a relationship Moore had with a state employee who was married to someone else at the time.

“NC14 demands leaders forged in adversity, capable of making tough decisions that put our economy back on track and are unafraid to stand against the establishment for the betterment of our state and natiion,” the statement reads. “What they do not need is another go-along-to-get-along Republican who prioritizes political survival over principled action and the hard-fought interests of North Carolinians.” Another part of the statement accuses Moore of having a “legacy of corruption.”

In June, a local elected official filed an alienation of affection lawsuit against Moore accusing him of ruining his marriage by having an affair with his wife. Moore admitted he had a relationship with the woman, but denied the allegation. The man, Scott Lassiter, would voluntarily dismiss the case within a few weeks.

Moore’s run for Congress has been speculated about for months. He announced several months ago that he would not seek a sixth term as speaker, adding later that he would not seek reelection to the state House.

Moore was first elected to the state House in 2002. He earned a bachelor’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill in 1992, then received a law degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1995. His House district includes most of Cleveland County.

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