Conservative Republican Dan Bishop won a special election Tuesday for an open House seat in North Carolina, averting a demoralizing Democratic capture of a district the GOP has held for nearly six decades. (Sept. 11)
Republican Dan Bishop narrowly won the special election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District on Tuesday, keeping the GOP’s grasp on the traditionally conservative seat.
President Donald Trump had won the Republican-leaning district by 12 points in 2016, but polls had indicated a tight race in the district, which runs from south Charlotte to suburban Fayetteville.
State election officials had nullified the results of the 2018 race, citing details of election fraud to boost Republican Mark Harris over Democrat Dan McCready.
With all precincts reporting, Bishop led McCready by about two percentage points, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
McCready, a moderate Democrat, had campaigned on the slogan “country over party,” while Bishop had wholeheartedly embraced Trump.
“WE DID IT,” Bishop wrote on Twitter, declaring victory in the election.
Speaking at his victory party, Bishop said, “I hope the Democrats in Washington are watching this incredible victory and realize what they’re doing is not working.”
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had flown to North Carolina to campaign for Bishop, and national Republican groups spent millions of dollars in the district to boost him.
In his Fayetteville, N.C. rally on Monday night, Trump had tied himself closely to Bishop’s candidacy, telling supporters that Democrats will “try and take it away” if voters didn’t give Republicans a victory in the district.
Trump took credit for the victory on Twitter, noting that Bishop was “down 17 points 3 weeks ago” before Bishop asked him for help.
McCready, who had also run for the seat in 2018, struck a more somber tone after conceding the election.
“Tonight, we were not successful, but victory postponed is not defeat,” McCready wrote on Facebook. “The mission to unite our country doesn’t end here tonight. That mission continues.”
Political analysts noted that the narrow victory was representative of Republican weakness among moderate suburban voters going into 2020. Democratic strength among those voters had helped Democrats win the House of Representatives in 2018.
Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report, noted on Twitter that “Bishop’s 2% win isn’t encouraging” as there are 35 House seats less Republican than the 9th District.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz said celebrations over the victory were overstated.
“Conservative Twitter celebrating a 2-point win in a +12 GOP district from 2016 is like Michigan celebrating a win over Army in double-overtime,” he quipped.
Both political parties see North Carolina as a swing state going into the 2020 election. Former President Barack Obama narrowly won the state in 2008, but the state has since swung towards Republicans in presidential elections since then.
Contributing: David Jackson
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