State Senator Dan Bishop defeats Democrat Dan McCready with last-minute help from Donald Trump
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
CHARLOTTE (CFP) — Republican State Senator Dan Bishop has squeaked out a victory over Democrat Dan McCready in a special election to fill North Carolina’s vacant 9th District U.S. House seat, keeping the seat in GOP hands.
Bishop — bolstered by an election-eve campaign appearance on his behalf by President Donald Trump — took 51 percent in the September 10 vote to 49 percent for McCready.
Although McCready beat Bishop decisively in the part of the district in suburban Mecklenburg County in and around Charlotte, Bishop rolled up a 20-pont margin in exurban Union County, which was enough to put him over the top.
McCready’s defeat extinguishes Democratic hopes of making a breakthrough in the Tar Heel State, where they failed to flip a single U.S. House seat in 2018.
In another special election in the 3rd District, Republican State Rep. Greg Murphy defeated Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville. The seat became vacant when longtime incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. Walter Jones died in February.
Murphy took 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Thomas.
The 9th stretches from the suburbs of Charlotte east along the South Carolina state line toward Fayetteville. The 3rd is a mostly rural district that takes in the counties along the state’s Atlantic coast.
Last November, McCready fell 900 votes short in a race against Republican Mark Harris, but the State Board of Elections ordered a rerun of the election after allegations of absentee ballot fraud were raised against a contractor working for Harris.
The contractor is now facing criminal charges; Harris dropped out of the race, clearing the way for Republicans to pick Bishop as a replacement.
The seat has been vacant for nine months as the dispute over the seat lingered.
Bishop, 55, is a social conservative who has served in both houses of the legislature. He is best known as one of the authors of North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” a law passed in 2016 which required transgendered people to use the restroom assigned to their birth gender in public facilities. After a public outcry and organized boycotts of the state, the law was repealed in 2017.
Trump held a rally in Fayetteville Monday in which he heaped praise on Bishop and went on the attack against McCready, whom he accused of wanting “open borders,” “sanctuary cities” and gun control.
In 2016, Trump won the 9th District by 12 points, but the district swung toward the Democrats in 2018, part of a similar shift seen in suburban areas across the South.
While that shift allowed Democrats to make breakthroughs in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Richmond, Charleston and Oklahoma City, they came up short in all four targeted House races in North Carolina.
With the results Tuesday, Republicans will hold a 10-to-3 advantage in the Tar Heel State’s House delegation.