While Mark Harris continues to lead his church in Charlotte, there seems to be a groundswell of support for him to run for public office.
Harris, 47, pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, announced that possibility to his church on Sunday (May 5).
BR file photo by Dianna L. Cagle
As president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Mark Harris leads the annual meeting in November 2012. He is considering running for a political office but continues to lead Charlotte’s First Baptist Church.
Around 70 people from 20 North Carolina counties met with Harris last week to discuss the possibility of him running for U.S. Senate as a Republican nominee.
“I’m certainly humbled and flattered by the confidence that these folks have expressed,” he said to the Charlotte Observer
. “It’s a little bit overwhelming to be honest. Right now we’re doing two things. One … doing a lot of listening to people and the second and most importantly to me is just to pray and seek God’s leadership … and see if that’s His plan for me.”
Harris emphasized that he is not presently a candidate for the U.S. Senate and is still the church’s pastor. “I have only obligated myself to listen,” he said, “… and to pray for God to bring clarity and true discernment” as the “draft movement” develops.
Harris campaigned in 2012 encouraging churches and individuals to help pass Amendment One, recognizing marriage between a man and woman as the only valid union in N.C. His church has hosted conservative speakers – including former presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council – and Republican precinct meetings.
State Republicans are looking for a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. Currently there are several individuals considering a run, including N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Phil Berger, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers and former Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Wheeler.
“There are a lot of people concerned about the direction our country is moving in,” said Tom Perdue, a GOP consultant, to the Charlotte Observer
. “So naturally people of faith will turn to people they trust as a man of faith. There’s a base of knowledge about (Harris) because of the marriage amendment.”
Perdue, of Atlanta, said he’s trying to measure the support for Harris, but he emphasized spiritual direction at the meeting last week.
“I did make clear the goal is not to get Mark to run for the U.S. Senate,” he said in the Charlotte Observer
. “The goal is to get Mark to do God’s will for his life.”