North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger is the first incumbent of 2018 to lose, falling to former pastor Mark Harris in Tuesday’s 9th District Republican primary.
Harris defeated Pittenger 48.5 percent to 46 percent, reversing the result from two years ago when the latter won by just 134 votes in a recount.
President Donald Trump carried the district, which stretches along the South Carolina border and includes affluent neighborhoods of Charlotte and its suburbs, by 12 points in 2016. Pittenger and Harris both sparred over loyalty to the president.
After his close call two years ago, Pittenger seemed to be taking his re-election more seriously this year. His campaign had outspent Harris as of the pre-primary reporting period. And he started earlier than he did two years ago. His campaign debuted a Christmas ad last year to try to undercut Harris’ message.
Read more at Roll Call.