NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Robert Pittenger’s time in Congress has ended, and he has no plans to pursue another term to represent the 9th Congressional District.
In a formal statement Tuesday a day after a brief announcement, Pittenger said he will not run in any new primary that may result from the election fraud investigation underway in the district.
“As a member of Congress for the last six years, I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving the 9th Congressional District,” Pittenger’s statement reads. “Regardless of the determination of the evidentiary hearing, I will not be a candidate in a possible primary election.”
Pittenger, the then-incumbent Republican, lost to Mark Harris in the NC9 primary race by 828 votes, an even smaller margin than the one unofficially separating Harris from Democrat Dan McCready.
As the investigation into claims of absentee ballot irregularities has progressed, some concerns have been raised that McCrae Dowless and his associates, who are accused of tampering with or even throwing away absentee ballots, were active during the primary race, and could have affected the outcome.
Some of those concerns were voiced when the General Assembly passed House Bill 1029, which requires a new primary if the state board of elections calls for a new election due to evidence of election fraud.
It is not clear if there will be a new election or a new primary. With the state board of elections dissolved, most believe it will be up to the U.S. House of Representatives to decide.
However, incoming Democratic House leaders have indicated they would only call for a new general election.
Either way, Pittenger will not be participating.
In his statement Tuesday, the now former congressman reflected on his time representing the roughly 788,000 people in NC9.
Officials have said Pittenger’s congressional staff will remain in Washington on a limited basis until a new representative is duly elected, though those aides have told other media outlets they are encouraging constituents to contact their senators.