ROCKINGHAM — U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger solidified his primary victory Monday following a recount requested by one of his challengers.
Machine recounts were finished around noon in the counties that make up the 9th District, and the totals changed by less than a handful of votes, according to a table of results provided by the State Board of Elections, the Associated Press reports.
Pittenger edged challenger Mark Harris by about 130 votes out of the 26,000 ballots cast in the three-way primary, according to the AP.
Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, picked up one extra vote in Richmond County, according to Connie Kelly, elections director.
She said it was determined that on one of the ballots, the voter had marked Harris’ name with a check instead of filling in the oval.
Kelly added that the recount took about an hour and a half.
Voting officials in Anson County said there was no change after the recount.
“We had full faith in the election process and are happy our victory was verified,” Pittenger, R-Charlotte, said in a statement released to the media Monday afternoon. “We must now come together as Conservatives to defeat the Democrat’s liberal agenda in the 2016 election.”
Although Harris said he was disappointed in the outcome, he added, “
we can rest assured that every vote cast has been accounted for and the result confirmed.”
“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to all the volunteers who stepped up and helped us during the campaign,” the pastor said in a statement. “We had people that gave of their time and money sacrificially to support our vision. For each one of you, I am eternally grateful.”
Harris said he spoke to the congressman personally, adding he wanted to publicly congratulate him.
“It’s no secret that this was a hard-fought campaign, but I hope for his success in November,” he said.
Harris filed the recount on Wednesday after results from the previous week’s GOP primary had him less than 1 percent behind Pittenger.
Todd Johnson, a former Union County commissioner and the owner of an Insurance company with offices throughout the district, was the other challenger.
State leaders redrew the maps in February after a federal court ruled that two North Carolina congressional districts, the 1st and 12th, were gerrymandered based on race.
Several counties were pulled from the 8th Congressional District, currently represented by Richard Hudson, R-Concord, and placed in the 9th Congressional District.
During the recent primary election, Johnson carried a majority of the rural areas, including Richmond, Anson and his home county of Union.
Early poll results showed him leading the race, but the numbers for Pittenger and Harris began to rise as precincts in Mecklenburg county began reporting.
Pittenger will face Democrat Christian Cano in November.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.