RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A recent shooting at the Hickory, North Carolina, residence of GOP congressional candidate Pat Harrigan's parents and young children caused no injuries but placed “tremendous stress” on the family in the final weeks of his campaign, Harrigan's mother said Thursday.
Harrigan, a firearms manufacturer and U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, is running against Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson for an open U.S. House seat in North Carolina's new 14th District based in western Charlotte. The left-leaning district emerged from a lengthy redistricting battle during which North Carolina redrew its congressional map to account for the additional seat it was awarded following the 2020 census.
Political analysts say the 2022 map favors Republicans in seven of the state’s 14 districts and favors Democrats in six, with one toss-up district in the Raleigh suburbs.
Marla Harrigan, 74, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she and her husband James Harrigan were watching television down the hall when a bullet shattered their laundry room window on the night of Oct. 18. The Hickory Police Department responded to their 911 call and noted in the police report that the incident involved a firearm.
The congressional candidate's children, ages 3 and 5, were asleep in the bedroom directly above the room where the shooting occurred, Marla Harrigan said. The bullet came from a densely wooded area and did not wake the kids.
She said the two children have been living with their grandparents in Hickory, about 57 miles northwest of Charlotte, for much of the campaign cycle. They have since been relocated out of state “out of an abundance of caution after the shooting," she said, adding that her son is urging his parents to leave town as well.
“It's just disconcerting, especially with the children there," Marla Harrigan told the AP. “This campaign is so stressful, and we feel so badly for our son because, you know, he's terribly stressed about his children ... and now they're gone, they're not with their parents and it's just very, very disruptive."
Hickory Police Department spokesperson Kristen Hart said the department has not made arrests related to the incident and that the investigation is ongoing.
Jordan Shaw, spokesperson for the Harrigan campaign, said the Republican candidate has also received numerous death threats, which they've submitted to the police to aid their investigation.
“I’m focused on fixing the economy, lowering prices and keeping our streets safe,” Harrigan said in a statement Thursday. “And it’ll take more than a bullet and death threats to knock this Green Beret off that mission.”
Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter at @H_Schoenbaum.
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Hannah Schoenbaum, The Associated Press