RALEIGH, N.C. — The do-over election in North Carolina’s Ninth District, which includes some of the most conservative areas in North Carolina, now includes two front runners, one who was endorsed by former candidate Mark Harris, an anti-LGBTQ Baptist pastor, and one who for years has blatantly targeted the LGBTQ community.

Harris, who had a slight lead over Democratic challenger Dan McCready, chose not to run after a new election was called following fraud by his campaign.

The main contenders in the GOP stronghold are Stony Rushing, Union County commissioner, and Fern Shubert, former Republican whip of the North Carolina Senate and one-time gubernatorial candidate.

Harris cut his political teeth on anti-LGBTQ issues, and while pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte, hosted “Star Spangled Sundays,” attended by the likes of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. Harris has also lamented the decriminalization of homosexuality.

With the close relationship between Harris and Rushing, one could make the assumption Rushing shares the former candidate’s opinions on LGBTQ issues.

Rushing had been in close contact with Harris shortly after the new election was called and believes the former candidate was unfairly targeted by the State Board of Elections.

The Union County commissioner made a name for himself by dressing up as Boss Hogg, complete with white 10-gallon hat and suit. Since he received Harris’s endorsement, Rushing has gone on to espouse conspiracy theories about the special election on his Facebook page.

A Dec. 30, 2018 post reads: “Evidence is mounting that we have been part of a political coup by the State Board and the Democrat(ic) leaders on that board. We deserve a true investigation and not a political investigation.”

Shubert, who filed Monday, March 11, helped sponsor anti-marriage equality legislation in North Carolina. In the past, Shubert has blamed marriage equality for rising crime rates, and in past official statements has embraced the old anti-gay bogey-man of homosexual “recruitment” and pedophilia.