Under the Dome

Former top GOP operative to manage Mark Harris' Senate campaign

Rev. Mark Harris won't officially enter North Carolina's U.S, Senate race until next week. But he's already snared another former official of the state Republican Party to run his campaign.

Harris announced that Mike Rusher will manage his campaign. Rusher, former chief of staff for the state GOP, joins former state party chairman Robin Hayes, who will co-chair the Harris campaign.

Harris is pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He plans a fly-around announcement tour on Oct. 2, starting in Wilmington and ending in Charlotte.

Rusher headed the national GOP Victory Campaign in North Carolina until early August in 2012. Before that he was an aide to state Senate Leader Phil Berger. The announcement of his position with the Harris campaign comes a day after Berger formally bowed out of the Senate race.

Harris will be the fourth Republican to announce for the seat of Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, joining House Speaker Thom Tillis, Cary physician Greg Brannon and Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant.

Jim Morrill of The Charlotte Observer.

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