(The Center Square) — North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore will announce his candidacy for the 14th Congressional District next week.
A spokesman for the Cleveland County Republican, the longest-serving North Carolina House speaker in state history, has confirmed Moore will run to replace Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson, who recently announced his campaign for North Carolina attorney general.
The move confirms months of speculation about Moore’s intentions for 2024, coming about a week after lawmakers in the General Assembly approved new state legislative and congressional districts.
The speculation was fueled in part by Moore’s recent trips to Ukraine during a legislative break this year and a visit last week to the southern border. More recently, Moore has toured the state to highlight legislative funding for various causes, from economic development projects to college health initiatives, to capital improvement projects.
The new congressional map shifts the 14th District, which includes Moore’s hometown of Kings Mountain, from a Democratic-leaning district to favor Republicans.
Moore, an attorney, has served in the General Assembly since 2003 and as speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives since he took over the role from U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in 2015. Major legislative victories this session include securing a supermajority by courting former Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County to switch parties, tax reductions in the state budget, election reforms, legalized sports betting, limits on abortion, and measures to expand school choice.
Moore has also faced criticisms over an alleged sexual relationship with a state employee, as well as his support for a proposal to legalize casinos in the Old North State.
The divorced father of two will face off in the Republican primary against Green Beret turned businessman Pat Harrigan, who lost a bid for the district in 2022 to Jackson.
Harrigan wasted no time attacking “Casino Activist Tim Moore” over his recent controversies, releasing a statement on Thursday that labeled the speaker as a “career and corrupt politician” who “does not represent NC14’s values, nor does he deserve it’s trust.”
“Let’s be clear: Tim Moore carries a legacy of corruption, from being bought and paid for by the casino and gambling bosses, to taxpayer-funded sexual escapades,” Harrigan said. “NC14 demands leaders forged in adversity, capable of making tough decisions that put or economy back on track and are unafraid to stand against the establishment for the betterment of our state and nation.
“What they do not need is another go-along-to-get-along Republican who prioritizes political survival over principled action and the hard-fought interests of North Carolinians.”
The official candidate filing period for the 2024 opens on Dec. 4. The primary is March 5.