It takes a special sort of person to see defeat in victory. Last night, the GOP prevailed in two North Carolina special elections, but a number of left-leaning ‘experts’ are claiming that the results spell trouble for the president among suburban voters.
However, others disagree and are praising the fact that voters rejected democrat’s “socialist agenda.”
Breitbart News reported:
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Bishop defeated McCready by slightly more than two points, with 50.8 percent of the vote (94,984 votes) to McCready’s 48.6 percent (90,824 votes). Bishop’s total margin of victory was 4,160 votes..
Dave Wasserman, political editor of the Cook Report, called the race for Bishop at 9:55 p.m. eastern in this tweet:
Projection: Dan Bishop (R) defeats Dan McCready (D) in #NC09. GOP hold.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) September 11, 2019
Both parties and their related groups spent heavily in this hotly contested bellwether election in this key 2020 battleground state.
According to an election night analysis provided by Decision Desk HQ, Republican and Republican aligned groups spent more than $6 million on behalf of Bishop’s candidacy, while Democrat and Democrat groups spent more than $3 million on behalf of McCready’s candidacy, and each candidate spent around $2 million. Total spending was about $14 million.
Bishop, a conservative Republican currently serving in the North Carolina State Senate, based his campaign on strong support for the Trump agenda. The president, for his part, strongly supported Bishop.
On Monday, the night before the election, Trump appeared with Bishop at a boisterous rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina in the conservative eastern part of the district. At the rally, Trump heavily criticized McCready for supporting the socialist agenda of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Squad.
The uncertainty of the outcome of the special election in the Ninth Congressional District was in sharp contrast to the easy victory Republican candidate Greg Murphy won in the special election held on Tuesday in the state’s Third Congressional District.
The Ninth Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has been empty since the 116th Congress convened in January, due to allegations of election ballot irregularities that caused the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ refusal to certify the results of the 2018 midterm election in the district between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.
On election night, Harris held a 905 vote lead. In January, the NCSBE ordered this new special election to be held.
For all the spending by both parties, the voting behavior in this special election almost mirrored that of the November 2018 mid term election.
The Ninth Congressional District consists of all or part of eight counties, stretching from Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) on its western boundaries to Bladen County on its eastern boundaries. In 2016, President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the district by 12 points. He won the state of North Carolina by three points.
Half of the 50 precincts in Mecklenburg County are in Bishop’s current State Senate district.
If the final margin of victory is less than one percent, the losing candidate can request a machine recount within 48 hours of the closing of the polls. If that machine recount changes the outcome, the candidate who is the loser after that recount.
McCready had a lead in early voting, but it turned out not to be enough, as Politico’s Jake Sherman noted in this tweet:
For what it’s worth — before vote came in today, a smart NC person told me if McCready was up by 8000 or more in early vote total, Bishop would not be able to make that up.
McCready was up by 7,373.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 11, 2019
Fox News reported on democrat reactions to the wins:
And another Republican House candidate, Greg Murphy, decisively won a separate special election in North Carolina’s more solidly GOP-leaning 3rd District earlier Tuesday evening — frustrating Democrats who spent millions trying to make a splash in the state.
Even Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman Cheri Bustos acknowledged that the president contributed to Bishop’s win, writing in a statement, “We fell an inch short tonight, but it took more than $6 million in outside Republican spending and a last-minute Trump rally” to seal Democratic candidate Dan McCready’s fate in the 9th District.
McCready’s campaign spent approximately $4.7 million on the race, while Bishop’s spent only $1.9 million. Outside spending primarily from national party committees helped Bishop to the tune of $5.8 million, though, compared to McCready’s roughly $1.4 million.
The clean sweep heartened the president, who has long emphasized the national implications at stake. Trump unloaded on McCready in the fiery rally on Monday night, telling attendees that “to stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow’s special election.”
That effort, Trump said late Tuesday, had clearly paid dividends.
“Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race. Big Rally last night. Now it looks like he is going to win. @CNN &@MSNBC are moving their big studio equipment and talent out. Stay tuned!”
He added: “BIG NIGHT FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!”
“The voters said no to radical, liberal polices pushed by today’s Democratic Party,” Bishop said in a victory speech.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the wins spelled trouble for Democrats in 2020, and highlighted the importance of Republican National Committee (RNC) efforts in North Carolina — where the party will hold its national nominating convention in 2020.
“Despite being massively outspent by Democrats, @realDonaldTrump rallied voters and put Bishop over the top,” McDaniel said. “A huge win for the president and our grassroots field program that’s working hard to elect Republicans in 2020!”
The RNC had been active on the ground in North Carolina working on the special elections since June. The party brought on nearly two dozen full-time staffers and invested more than $1.5 million in the state, while also making nearly a half-million voter contacts through phone-bank work and door-to-door canvassing.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bishop led McCready by 3,937 votes, 96,081 to 92,144, in the race to represent the 9th District. Bishop ran up substantial numbers in outlying areas and McCready eroded GOP advantages in suburban areas.
In 2018, the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, defeated McCready by a much smaller margin — just 905 votes, 139,246 to 138,341. State officials ordered the unusual special election earlier this year, invalidating Harris’ win after uncovering ballot fraud efforts.
Republicans cheered Bishop’s even-higher margin of victory than Harris achieved, briefly, in 2018.
“Congratulations to Dan Bishop on his definitive victory tonight in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer said in a statement.
“North Carolinians rejected the Democrats’ socialist agenda and elected a representative who will defend North Carolina values, and will always fight for freedom and against socialism,” he added. “I look forward to working with Dan in Congress to hold the Democrats accountable for their extreme agenda.”
Analysts had warned that the cloud from the fraud scandal could have harmed Bishop’s prospects. Additionally, polls apparently showing Trump’s declining national popularity – which the president has dismissed as inaccurate – gave Democrats some cause for optimism. The president said Monday he did not consider Bishop’s race to be a bellwether for 2020.
Nevertheless, Bishop and Murphy were evidently boosted by a pair of visits to the district Monday by both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
At the rally Monday, the president specifically called out McCready as a dangerous proponent of “sanctuary cities” and rolling back gun rights.
“Just recently, Mecklenburg County set free an illegal alien charged with first-degree rape and crimes against a child,” Trump said, his voice rising. “Support for sanctuary cities is disloyalty to American cities — and McCready wants sanctuary cities, with all of their protections for people who are serious criminals. Tomorrow is your chance to send a clear message to the America-hating left.”
Had McCready prevailed, it might have suggested GOP erosion and raised questions about Trump’s and his party’s viability for 2020.
But Trump projected confidence early Tuesday evening after Murphy was projected to soundly defeat Democrat Allen Thomas in the separate special election in the coastal 3rd District to succeed the late Rep. Walter Jones Jr.
“One down, one to go,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, McCready, a former Marine turned financier of solar energy projects, had banked on the district’s suburban moderates to carry him over the top.
The 9th District, which stretches east from the prosperous Charlotte suburbs into rural areas hugging the South Carolina border, has been held by the GOP since 1963.
In 2016, Trump won the district by 11 percentage points.
As voters headed to the polls Tuesday afternoon, a new balloting controversy surfaced briefly when North Carolina election officials did not act on a request by the state Republican Party to extend hours at a single precinct.
The state GOP asked that the voting site stay open an extra hour and 45 minutes because they said some voters were showing up at an old voting location in Union County, a Republican-heavy area east of Charlotte.
The State Board of Elections met and discussed the GOP request, but took no action.
However, by a 5-0 vote of the state board, one polling site in Mecklenberg County was kept open 25 minutes past the 7:30 p.m. ET closing time due to a reported gas leak.
The 3rd District, where Murphy won easily early in the night, was less closely watched because it was strongly expected to stay Republican-controlled. Still, Republicans from the president on down sounded the victory drums.
“Congratulations to Dr. Greg Murphy on his decisive victory tonight in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District,” Emmer said in a statement.
“Dr. Murphy is a selfless servant who is dedicated to conservative values,” Emmer continued. “Today, North Carolinians rejected the socialist agenda of the Democrats and voted for freedom. I look forward to working with a consistent conservative like Dr. Murphy in Congress.”
The 3rd district extends from the Virginia border and Outer Banks to the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, and inland to Greenville. Trump won the district vote comfortably in 2016, and Murphy said at a Trump rally that he would have the “president’s back” if elected.
Thomas is a former Greenville mayor who questioned Murphy’s “blind loyalty” to Trump.