Filing deadline looms in open N Carolina congressional seat

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2019, file photo, Mark Harris, Republican candidate in North Carolina's 9th Congressional race, prepares to testify during the

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2019, file photo, Mark Harris, Republican candidate in North Carolina's 9th Congressional race, prepares to testify during the

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A conservative soldier in the country's culture wars heads the Republican field as a deadline nears for a new North Carolina congressional election needed because of earlier ballot misdeeds.

Three candidates had entered the Republican primary in North Carolina's 9th congressional district ahead of Friday's deadline.

New elections were ordered after evidence that a political operative working for GOP candidate Mark Harris collected and potentially altered mail-in ballots last year. Harris' seemingly narrow victory over Democrat Dan McCready in November was scrapped.

Harris isn't running again. McCready is.

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte is thought to have the deepest pockets. He sponsored of a 2016 state law limiting LGBT rights that prompted businesses, entertainers and others to boycott the state.

Harris backs Stony Rushing, who is staunchly anti-abortion.