Charlotte pastor who pushed marriage amendment jumps into Senate race

Mark Harris, a Charlotte pastor, launches his bid for US Senate today.

Harris' candidacy puts him into contention with NC House Speaker Thom Tillis and Cary obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon in the Republican primary to challenge Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.

A Winston-Salem native, Harris served as senior pastor at Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons before assuming his current position as senior pastor of the 3,400-member First Baptist Church in Charlotte. Harris has held several leadership roles in the NC Baptist State Convention, and played a prominent role in promoting the marriage amendment supported by North Carolina voters last year.

Harris is touring the state by plane today to talk up his candidacy, and will be at Landmark Aviation, located at 1060 PTI Drive in Greensboro at 2 p.m.

Tillis is widely considered the frontrunner in the Republican field. Brannon has been campaigning since the beginning of the year. The Brannon campaign reported yesterday that the candidate has raised more than $275,000 since the start of the campaign. Brannon calls himself a "tea party favorite" and the "foremost grassroots candidate in the race."

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