NORTH CAROLINA -- North Carolina’s newly elected congressman could soon find himself in the middle of an ongoing fight on Capitol Hill.
- Mark Harris says joining the House Freedom Caucus is a possibility
- The group often finds itself at odds with moderate Republicans
- RELATED: Dan McCready Concedes, Mark Harris Elected to Congress
In an interview with Spectrum News, Mark Harris did not rule out joining the House Freedom Caucus – a group that often finds itself at odds with the more moderate wing of the Republican party.
“I can’t say that that final decision is there until I exactly understand what that means, but certainly I would be looking that direction,” he said. “I’ve had a great deal of respect from day one for their seriousness with which they approach fiscal responsibility.”
A conservative group of House Republicans known for its opposition to Obamacare and concerns about immigration, the Freedom Caucus is led by a fellow North Carolina lawmaker: Congressman Mark Meadows.
Formed in 2015, the group has yielded a good deal of influence while Republicans controlled Congress.
The more moderate branch of the Republican party has at times been forced to appease the caucus in order to win their votes and pass legislation, leading to bad feelings. The group derailed a vote on the Farm Bill earlier this year.
The latest skirmish will be on display in coming days. The Freedom Caucus’s Jim Jordan is running for minority leader, against the more mainstream Republican Kevin McCarthy.
“This presents a real dynamic that House Republicans are going to have to think about in terms of how they’re going to present their leadership and ultimately how they’re going to present their plans with a Democratic majority in power,” said Michael Bitzer, a political analyst and Catawba College professor.
With Democrats set to take power next year, the Freedom Caucus’s influence level may not be as great. Democrats can just go around them.
"Without a doubt,” they will lose leverage with Republicans in the minority Meadows told RollCall.
For his part, Harris is talking more about bringing people together, rather than division.
“There’s so many things in this country that are awesome. And there’s so many things that I genuinely believe we can all agree upon,” Harris said.
Harris beat out Democrat Dan McCready to represent North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, which stretches from the Charlotte suburbs to Fayetteville.
North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd, who represents the 13th district, is also a member of the Freedom Caucus.