The nation's political attention will shift next week, if only for a day, from the presidential primary brawl to an unusual House election in North Carolina – where the fight for a Republican-held seat appears to be coming down to the wire and both parties are hoping to claim a win that speaks to their strength going into 2020.
The vote amounts to a re-do of last year’s 9th Congressional District election after ballot fraud aimed at helping then-GOP candidate Mark Harris was discovered. He didn’t run again this year; instead, state Sen. Dan Bishop has replaced him on the ballot. Bishop is now running against Democrat Dan McCready in the election to be held on Tuesday.
9th Congressional District Republican candidate State Sen. Dan Bishop answers a question during a news conference on May 15, 2019, outside McCready’s campaign headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
Politico reports that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has traveled to the state to help Bishop and has pushed other lawmakers to help, stressing that the vote on Tuesday is critical and could give the party a shot in the arm if Bishop is sent to the House.
With such implications in mind, Trump will visit the district on Monday as he holds a rally in Fayetteville. The outlet also reported that Vice President Pence and Donald Trump Jr. will visit the district as part of a push to rally Republican support.
On Wednesday, the Trump campaign announced that it had donated the maximum $2,000 to Bishop.
Polls currently give McCready a slight lead, but one that is within the margin of error. McCready has campaigned as a moderate, and the Charlotte Observer reports that he has dismissed the “crazy aspirational things” that 2020 Democratic hopefuls have proposed.
His website touts his experience as a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and as a small business owner. He has also backed away from Democratic calls to impeach the president. But Bishop’s campaign has sought to paint him as a radical liberal all the same.
9th Congressional District Democratic candidate Dan McCready answers a question during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., on May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
“Democrats’ lurch to the left and embrace of socialism threatens to upend the success of President Trump’s first term and North Carolinians and our country deserve better,” Brad Parscale, Trump campaign manager, said in a statement announcing Trump’s donation. “In order to ‘Keep America Great,’ President Trump needs more elected leaders like Dan Bishop in Congress. Our contribution to Mr. Bishop’s campaign symbolizes that the Trump campaign is all-in for his victory.”
McCready responded by calling Bishop “terrified,” according to the Observer, and saying he is bringing outside help “to bail him out.”
Bishop, meanwhile, has stuck close to the president – particularly on issues related to illegal immigration, where he has backed the call for a wall on the southern border. He is also a lawyer and a Christian conservative who sponsored a 2016 state law that blocked local governments from adopting rules that prevent discrimination against LGBT people.
The district has been Republican for 56 years and Trump won it by 12 percentage points in 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.