President Trump and VP Pence will both be visiting the district prior to the election
The upcoming Special Election in North Carolina’s 9th district is being touted as a “bellwether” for the 2020 presidential election. Indeed, NBC News claims President Trump “faces more 2020 danger” if there’s an upset and the Democrat pulls off a win. Trump won the district in 2016 by double digits.
Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready on September 10th. There is clearly some concern among Republicans about this special election as both the president and VP Mike Pence will be traveling to the district in support of Bishop.
At a retreat with top GOP donors in Wyoming last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy broached a growing concern for senior Republicans: a crucial, do-over election for a North Carolina congressional seat.
McCarthy has traveled to the state to help the Republican candidate, state Sen. Dan Bishop, and has pushed his rank-and-file lawmakers to lend a hand. And as he chatted up contributors, he warned that next month’s vote is critical: Following a devastating 2018 election that demolished the House GOP majority, a win in the nationally-watched race would give the party a badly-needed morale boost.
Republicans are funneling resources into the southern North Carolina district as they try to stave off an embarrassing loss in a GOP-heavy seat that President Donald Trump won in 2016 by more than 11 percentage points. With private polling showing a close race between Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready, Trump will travel to the district on Sept. 9, the night before the special election, for a rally in Fayetteville, N.C. And the White House is also planning to deploy Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., before the election.
. . . . Republicans hope that Trump’s involvement in the district — which is filled with the type of white and older working-class voters that powered his 2016 win — will put Bishop over the top.
Bishop’s campaign has worked to nationalize the race and focus on his support for Trump, and it seems likely that a district that went for Trump by 11 points in 2016 will elect Bishop.
“This race is about Donald Trump,” said Jim Blaine, a senior adviser to Bishop’s campaign. “Dan’s embraced Trump 100 percent.”
The election is serving as a testing ground for Trump’s 2020 message and strategy. Bishop has worked to nationalize the race, labeling McCready a “socialist” and, more recently, pushing out immigration ads echoing Trump’s rhetoric against Latino immigrants, including a spot in which he criticizes the Mecklenburg County sheriff for not cooperating with federal immigration enforcement officials.
. . . . The Republican National Committee jumped into the district earlier this month, aiding Bishop’s campaign with get-out-the-vote strategies they plan to deploy in 2020 for Trump. The RNC has spent $1.5 million across the state to date, including spending for another special election on Sept. 10 in solidly Republican territory.
Collectively, the National Republican Campaign Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to McCarthy, have pumped roughly $4 million into the race. And the conservative Club for Growth has spent more than $500,000 backing Bishop.
Much of this flurry of national Republican financial activity surrounding Bishop’s campaign is based, at least in part, in the head start McCready had in the race.
McCready, a solar energy businessman and a moderate Democrat, has been running here since 2017 and has enjoyed an organizational and financial head start. At the end of June, he had $1.7 million in the bank to Bishop’s $344,000. Pro-Republican outside groups, including the National Republican Campaign Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund, have sought to level the score by spending more than $4 million attacking McCready in the home stretch.
It’s easy and tempting to shrug off most special elections, but it’s also hard to see how losing this race would be good for Republicans (or for Trump).
. . . . The bottom line: Fresh off losing their majority and beset by a new wave of retirements, Republicans badly need a morale boost. A loss Sept. 10 would mean that they would need to gain 20 seats (rather than 19) to reclaim the House majority next year.
But it’s not just about the House: Trump’s re-election depends on North Carolina, and a Democratic upset would be a genuine sign of danger for the president heading into 2020.
Watch the report:DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.