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Westlake Legal Group > McCready, Dan

North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — The red is getting redder and the blue is getting bluer.

The special congressional election in North Carolina may have involved just about 190,000 voters, but it showed that the class, racial and regional divides among voters have only hardened since that demographic chasm helped drive President Trump’s election in 2016 and the Democratic rebound in the House in 2018.

Dan Bishop, a Republican state lawmaker, eked out a two-point victory in a historically conservative seat because he improved on his party’s performance with working-class whites in more lightly populated parts of the district. And even though Democrats nominated a Marine veteran, Dan McCready, who highlighted his baptism while serving in Iraq, his gains in Charlotte, the state’s biggest city, were not enough to offset the drop-off he suffered across several hundred miles of sprawling farms and small towns.

The bracing takeaway for Republicans is that their tightening embrace of Mr. Trump and his often demagogic politics is further alienating the upper middle-class voters — many in cities and their suburbs— who once were central to their base. At the same time, the Democrats are continuing to struggle with the working-class whites who once represented a pillar of their own coalition.

The results here in a district stretching from Charlotte to Fayetteville presage a brutal, national campaign that seems destined to become the political equivalent of trench warfare, with the two parties rallying their supporters but clashing over a vanishingly small slice of contested electoral terrain.

Such a contest could prove difficult for Mr. Trump, who helped deliver Mr. Bishop a victory by mobilizing their shared base of working-class whites at an election-eve rally, because his core support could well be insufficient to win him a second term without improving his standing with the suburbanites and women who reluctantly backed him in 2016.

Even as the president and his top aides crowed over their role in securing Mr. Bishop a two-point win in a seat Mr. Trump carried by 12 points, their next-day glow was jarred by a new Washington Post-ABC poll that delivered grim tidings. Mr. Trump would lose to a handful of the Democratic candidates, the survey indicated, and a trial heat between the president and Joseph R. Biden Jr. showed Mr. Biden thrashing Mr. Trump 55-40 among registered voters.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160520535_e23f50ea-e8f6-4c7a-8384-72e7dddf8b33-articleLarge North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed. Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan

Dan Bishop, right, won the election by two points in a district President Trump carried by 12 points in 2016.CreditJim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But Republicans note that the election will not be held this week and they believe Mr. Trump can pull out another Electoral College victory if the Democrats veer out of the political mainstream next year and send just enough of those political moderates scrambling back to the G.O.P.

“Their run to the left is the great opportunity for us to get back the majority and for the president to get re-elected,” said Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, pointing to how many more House seats are now held by Democrats in districts won by Mr. Trump than by Republicans in seats Hillary Clinton carried.

More striking than Mr. McHenry’s rosy assessment is what he and other political veterans from both parties are now willing to acknowledge: that new lines of demarcation are making Democrats out of college-educated voters tooling around Charlotte in BMWs and Republicans out of blue-collar workers further out on Tobacco Road. And those lines are now fixed.

“We are living in, to take an old John Edwards term, Two Americas,” Mr. McHenry said, alluding to the former North Carolina senator. He added that “the view of the president is cemented in voters’ minds” and conceded that Mr. Trump can only improve his standing in the suburbs “along the margins.”

The gains Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate, made in Charlotte were not enough to offset the drop-off he suffered across sprawling farms and small towns of rural North Carolina.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

Former Representative Brad Miller, a longtime North Carolina Democrat with ancestral roots in this district, was just as blunt.

“It does grieve me greatly that the areas where my family was from have gone so Republican,” said Mr. Miller, noting that many of the voters who cast Republican ballots Tuesday “probably had grandparents with pictures of F.D.R. up in their living room.”

But Mr. Miller said the implications from Tuesday’s special election and last year’s midterms were undeniable if demoralizing in some ways.

“Democrats have a clear advantage in 2020, but there is no way to break into a lot of the folks who are for Trump. They’re just not going to vote for a Democrat, doesn’t matter who it is,” he said. “So Democrats can still win and probably will win but we’re going to be a very divided nation.”

Those divisions were easy to detect Wednesday in Rockingham, a county seat community well east of Charlotte best known for its famed Nascar track. Mr. McCready won the surrounding county by 2.5 percent last year but on Tuesday Mr. Bishop carried it by 5 percent.

Standing behind the counter at Iconic Wellness CBD, and surrounded by tasteful posters extolling the benefits of legal cannabis products, Pam Mizzell said she voted for Mr. Bishop in part because he had the strong backing of Mr. Trump.

Ms. Mizzell, who is white, said she wanted more Republicans in Washington supporting the president’s agenda. She accused former President Barack Obama of pitting “one race against the other race” (she did not cite any examples) and said she hoped that the Trump administration would help bring about an era of racial healing.

Diane McDonald, a school cafeteria worker who is African-American, offered a markedly different viewpoint, saying she was worried that Mr. Trump is promoting racism. “And they’re letting him get away with it,” Ms. McDonald said of Washington Republicans. “I thought McCready would make a difference.”

In Charlotte, it was not difficult to find white, Republican-leaning voters who also backed Mr. McCready.

Chris Daleus, a salesman, said he backed the Democrat Tuesday even though he supported Mr. Trump three years ago. “He seems to have embarrassed us in a lot of ways,” Mr. Daleus said of the president.

National Democrats took heart in such sentiments, believing their narrow defeat in a district they have not held since the 1960s foreshadows how a Trumpified Republican Party will run into the same suburban wall in 2020 as they did last year.

“There are 34 seats held by Republicans that are better pick-up opportunities for Democrats than this seat,” said Lucinda Guinn, a Democratic strategist. “Democrats can grow their majority.”

The more pressing matter for Democrats, though, may be whether they can improve their performance with working-class whites to reclaim the Senate and presidency in 2020, a question that will turn in part on whether they can defeat the North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis and reclaim this state from Mr. Trump, who won here by 3.6 points in 2016.

“Back in the 80s and 90s, North Carolina Democrats who bucked party affiliation were called Jessecrats,” said Doug Heye, a North Carolina-reared Republican consultant, referring to the late Senator Jesse Helms. “Now we may have to called them Trumpocrats. And if Democrats want North Carolina to truly be in play, they have to figure out how to appeal to these voters.”

Mr. Bishop’s campaign correctly determined that these mostly rural Democrats would hold the key to their success, even though their candidate’s state senate district includes parts of Charlotte. Jim Blaine, one of Mr. Bishop’s top aides, said that 75 to 80 percent of their paid advertising was directed toward the eastern, and more sparsely-populated, part of the district.

“It was focused on the core, long-standing, working-class Democratic constituency that makes up a huge piece of the population in those counties,” said Mr. Blaine, adding: “We had to persuade them not that Dan Bishop is the Republican, but the guy who would look out for them.”

He said their job was made easier in part because of the national Democratic Party’s drift left, but also because Mr. McCready did not make any major break from party orthodoxy that would have allowed him to present himself as a different sort of Democrat.

Mr. Trump’s high command, not surprisingly, had their own theory of why Republicans won here: Mr. Trump.

Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that the president’s election eve rally in Fayetteville was pivotal to Mr. Bishop’s success in energizing Election Day voters, after the Democrats mobilized many of their supporters to cast early ballots.

“There’s no question that he is the congressman-elect this morning because of the personal efforts of President Trump,” Mr. Parscale said of Mr. Bishop.

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Westlake Legal Group 09carolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X North Carolina Election Shows How Political Lines Are Drawn. And They Are Fixed. Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan

Richard Fausset reported from Charlotte, and Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

With Trump Hungry for Credit, Advisers Brag About North Carolina Win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Trump’s top advisers claimed credit Wednesday for a Republican’s narrow victory in a special House election in North Carolina the night before, even as Democratic and Republican officials alike said Dan Bishop’s two-point win in a district Mr. Trump easily carried only underscored how the widening urban-rural divide is complicating 2020 for both parties.

Brad Parscale, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, told reporters on a conference call that the president’s Monday night rally in Fayetteville, N.C., was pivotal to Mr. Bishop’s success in energizing Election Day voters after the Democrats mobilized many of their supporters to cast early ballots.

“There’s no question that he is the congressman-elect this morning because of the personal efforts of President Trump,” Mr. Parscale said of Mr. Bishop.

Mr. Parscale’s victory lap was conducted on behalf of a president who privately grumbled to several aides on Tuesday that he was not getting the credit he deserved for delivering a Republican victory in the closely watched special election.

And it came with a dose of ribbing for Democrats, who believed their nominee, Dan McCready, a Marine veteran, could eke out a win in a district Mr. Trump carried by 12 percentage points in 2016. Bill Stepien, one of Mr. Trump’s top political advisers, sarcastically congratulated Democrats for a “moral victory” before saying his party would gladly take the “actual victory.”

[Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping American politics with our newsletter.]

Yet what was effectively the final contest of the 2018 election — state officials ordered a redo of the race after Republicans were discovered to have funded an illegal vote-harvesting scheme in a rural county — was most revealing for demonstrating that the demographic divisions that shaped the midterms are only growing.

Mr. Bishop, who was not on the ballot in 2018, won in large part because he improved on the Republican performance in the more lightly populated parts of the sprawling, Fayetteville-to-Charlotte district. And Mr. McCready, who was the Democratic nominee in 2018 and ran again in the special election, performed even better in the upscale Charlotte suburbs on Tuesday than he did last November, even as he lost by a larger overall margin.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160593990_56e6e049-feda-492e-b738-c8b7739c8de1-articleLarge With Trump Hungry for Credit, Advisers Brag About North Carolina Win Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan

Dan McCready and his wife, Laura, after he conceded to Mr. Bishop on Tuesday night.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

“The national pattern seems to have played out,” said Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., adding of the county that includes Charlotte: “I think certainly the collapse of the Republicans in Mecklenburg is continuing.”

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These seemingly inexorable trends — the red growing redder while the blue gets bluer — underscore how difficult it will be for Republicans to reclaim the sort of metropolitan seats they need to win back the House majority next year. But the same pattern also illustrates why it will be difficult for Democrats to retake the Senate in 2020 unless they can improve their performance with rural voters.

For Mr. Trump, the North Carolina results amounted to proof that he enjoys rock-solid support with his base of working-class white voters — but that such devotion may not be sufficient for him to win a second term if he cannot improve his standing with suburbanites, particularly women.

Even as he and his high command were crowing about their success on Wednesday, their morning-after glow was jarred by a new ABC News/Washington Post national poll. The survey showed Mr. Trump with lackluster approval ratings and indicated that, if the election were held today, he would lose to a handful of his potential Democratic rivals. Most striking was the test heat between the president and Joseph R. Biden Jr.: Mr. Biden was leading Mr. Trump by 55 percent to 40 percent among registered voters, according to the poll.

But it is far from settled whom Democrats will ultimately nominate, and whether they will rally behind a candidate who aims an appeal at moderate voters or someone further left who can motivate progressives in a way Hillary Clinton failed to in 2016.

Many leading officials in the party are fretting about what many Republicans are counting on: that Democrats will put forward a candidate Mr. Trump can portray as out of the political mainstream.

If that happens, there could be a repeat in some states of what took place Tuesday in and around Lumberton, N.C., at the eastern edge of the district.

Mr. McCready won the surrounding county, Robeson, by more than 15 percentage points in 2018 against Mark Harris, his previous Republican opponent. On Tuesday, Mr. McCready won the county by only 1.1 percent.

Phillip M. Stephens, chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party, said the county remained majority Democratic but also very conservative. “Robeson County is a county with some of the last Blue Dog Democrats on the face of this earth,” he said.

Mr. Stephens said he believed that Mr. Bishop outperformed Mr. Harris in the county because of his relentless and focused messaging that reminded voters that Mr. McCready supported abortion rights and was aligned with a party that had drifted too far left.

“That doesn’t play well with these unaffiliateds and these conservative Democrats,” Mr. Stephens said. “It plays very well within the Democratic Party, but it does not play very well with Robeson County.”

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Westlake Legal Group results-north-carolina-house-district-9-special-general-election-1568140508937-threeByTwoSmallAt2X With Trump Hungry for Credit, Advisers Brag About North Carolina Win Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan
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Westlake Legal Group merlin_160520076_b90154dd-663a-4e83-b77c-df30cc81e5b0-threeByTwoSmallAt2X With Trump Hungry for Credit, Advisers Brag About North Carolina Win Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan
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Westlake Legal Group 09carolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X With Trump Hungry for Credit, Advisers Brag About North Carolina Win Trump, Donald J Robeson County (NC) Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Lumberton (NC) House of Representatives Fayetteville (NC) Elections, House of Representatives Democratic Party Bishop, Dan

Richard Fausset reported from Charlotte, and Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dan Bishop, a Republican state senator, scored a narrow victory on Tuesday in a special House election in North Carolina that demonstrated President Trump’s appeal with his political base but also highlighted his party’s deepening unpopularity with suburban voters.

Mr. Bishop defeated Dan McCready, a moderate Democrat, one day after Mr. Trump made a full-throated plea for support for the Republican at a rally on the conservative, eastern end of a Charlotte-to-Fayetteville district, which the president carried by nearly 12 points in 2016.

With most votes counted on Tuesday night, Mr. Bishop was ahead by about two percentage points, according to The Associated Press.

As Mr. Trump heads into a re-election year, the closeness of the outcome in a district that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since the 1960s confirmed once more that he energizes Democrats and some independents to fight against him just as much as he inspires Republicans to fight for him. In 2018, Democratic candidates flipped several G.O.P.-held House seats in districts that Mr. Trump had won, a sign of distaste among moderate and suburban voters who reluctantly backed him in 2016.

For Democrats looking ahead to 2020, those midterm results and Mr. Bishop’s slim margin in a conservative seat offer more evidence that Mr. Trump could face trouble in states such as North Carolina, which is Republican-leaning but filled with the sort of college-educated voters who have grown uneasy with the president.

As even some Republican pollsters and officials acknowledge, Mr. Trump — who enjoys high approval ratings with Republicans, but slipping ratings with voters overall in some recent polls — needs to improve his standing with suburban voters, particularly women. He carried North Carolina by 3.6 percentage points in 2016.

In Washington, Mr. Bishop’s victory is unlikely to be seen among Republicans as improving their chances of winning the House back in 2020. Indeed, Mr. Bishop’s win came only after outside Republican groups poured over $5 million into the district. Republican strategists said they do not see a Bishop win as slowing the steady trickle of G.O.P. lawmakers who are retiring rather than seeking re-election with an unpopular president on top of the ticket.

The House district, which extends from Charlotte through a number of exurban and rural counties to the east, has not been represented by a Democrat since the early 1960s. But in the midterms of 2018, Mr. McCready, surfing the national anti-Trump mood, ran a close race, losing by 905 votes to the Republican candidate at the time, Mark Harris.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160551399_e860c37d-1133-40cb-a1cc-52ea7aed1f9f-articleLarge Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

Dan McCready, a Democrat, ran seeking to flip control of the longtime Republican-held Ninth Congressional District.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

Then came one of the more bizarre plot twists in recent American politics: The state elections board threw out the entire election and ordered a new one after evidence surfaced that Mr. Harris’s campaign had funded an illegal vote-harvesting scheme in rural Bladen County.

Mr. McCready, 36, a businessman, decided to keep running, and had been on the campaign trail for 27 straight months. A centrist, he focused on the issue of health care affordability and criticized Mr. Bishop for opposing the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Bishop, 55, a Charlotte lawyer, is perhaps best known statewide for sponsoring the so-called bathroom bill that required transgender people to use restrooms that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. He boasted of his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, and he repeatedly attacked Mr. McCready by lumping him with the more left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party.

Mr. Trump tweeted his endorsement for Mr. Bishop and sent out a fund-raising email on his behalf. In July, Mr. Bishop spoke at Mr. Trump’s rally in Greenville, N.C., in which the crowd responded to the president’s attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Democrat, with chants of “send her back!”

The election was effectively the last campaign of the 2018 season, and what alarmed national Republicans was how ominously it recalled the midterm elections: As with so many races last year, a centrist Democrat raised significantly more money than the Republican candidate. And it happened in a historically conservative district that is now tilting toward the political center because of the suburban drift away from the G.O.P.

Live Results
North Carolina Special Election Results: Ninth House District
See full results and maps from the North Carolina special election.

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group results-north-carolina-house-district-9-special-general-election-1568140508937-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

At Olde Providence Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, voters moved in and out of their polling place at a steady trickle, braving 93-degree heat and a gauntlet of volunteers for local campaigns who lined the sidewalk outside.

The elementary school is surrounded by a relatively prosperous clutch of neighborhoods in South Charlotte — exactly the kind of place where Mr. McCready needed to rack up votes if he was to score an upset.

Lisa Rockholt, 58, a registered nurse, said she voted for Mr. McCready. She said she typically voted for both Republicans and Democrats, but was fed up with all the available options in the last presidential election, and wrote in her boyfriend’s name.

Ms. Rockholt said she disagreed with Mr. Bishop’s opposition to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in this state. As an R.N., she said, she has seen the toll that a lack of insurance can take on North Carolinians. And she liked Mr. McCready’s talk about keeping down the price of prescription drugs.

Stephanie Dillon exited the polling place with her seven-week-old son, Wells, in a stroller. She considers herself a political independent and she recalled voting for Mitt Romney in a previous presidential election.

Ms. Dillon, 34, represented a kind of nightmare-scenario voter for Mr. Bishop and Mr. Trump. Her conservatism is of the fiscal and business-friendly variety. She works in human resources, though she is on maternity leave now, and has seen the pressures that businesses must overcome to survive. But this time around, she voted for Mr. McCready.

She is not an immigration hard-liner (Mr. Bishop has referred to himself as “pro-wall”) and she has very few kind things to say about President Trump. “The whole kind of sexist persona totally turns me off,” she said, adding, “Why is he spending his time tweeting to celebrities?”

Caroline Penland, 44, a Republican, said she voted for Mr. Bishop. She is a reliable Republican voter, and a Christian who opposes abortion and favors “keeping God in schools.” She also favors some gun control, after being deeply affected by a 2012 shooting that occurred at the high school from which she graduated.

But now, she said, was not a time to stray from the Republican fold. She voted for Mr. Trump and would do so again. “From an economical standpoint he’s doing really well,” she said.

“First of all, he’s in my party. And I’m going to stick to my party right now,” Ms. Penland said of Mr. Bishop.

Ms. Penland, who works in marketing, also said that Mr. Bishop’s incessant ads targeting Mr. McCready stuck with her. She said her children were even referring to Mr. McCready as “McGreedy,” the epithet used against him in some attack ads.

In the late afternoon, Mr. Bishop arrived at an elementary school in a suburb southeast of Charlotte, wearing a Carolina-blue dress shirt and slacks. A group of reporters surrounded him and he reiterated his vision, which is squarely pro-Trump.

“The principles I stand for are timeless,” he said. “I think one problem we have is too many politicians shape-shift, and mold themselves to what they think people will want to hear and I don’t do that.”

Indeed, the fliers his supporters handed out painted a stark contrast between Mr. Bishop (“The Right Dan”) and Mr. McCready (“The Wrong Dan”), noting Mr. Bishop’s support for Mr. Trump’s border wall, his N.R.A. endorsement, his anti-abortion stance and his endorsement from Mr. Trump.

Mr. Bishop criticized the Democratic Party for a leftward lurch, and said that his opponent, who considers himself a moderate, has received funding from “the farthest-left sources of money in the country.”

The race, he said, was “a clear clash of different visions.”

“I represent a Trump vision of America. I join in President Trump’s vision of America of a booming economy and taxes that are lower and jobs that are more plentiful and border security and the idea of American exceptional continuing into the indefinite future.”

Mr. Bishop shook a few hands of voters as they made their way in to the polls, then huddled for an extended period of time with one man in shorts and a ball cap. After the man went inside, Mr. Bishop spoke with William Brawley, a former state representative who was defeated in 2018, and was handing out pro-Bishop fliers.

“What was his beef?” Mr. Brawley said of the man in the cap.

“Doesn’t like Donald Trump,” Mr. Bishop replied.

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Westlake Legal Group 08dc-northcarolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )
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Westlake Legal Group 09carolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )
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Westlake Legal Group 31northcarolina1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Dan Bishop, North Carolina Republican, Wins Special Election United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

North Carolina’s Special Election to Provide Test of Trump’s Clout

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Voters in a Republican-leaning North Carolina congressional district were choosing a new representative on Tuesday in a special election that will test President Trump’s clout ahead of 2020 and Democrats’ ability to make inroads with the sort of suburban voters who propelled them to a majority in the House last year.

Most polls closed at 7:30 p.m. in a race pitting Dan McCready, a Democrat and Marine veteran whose motto is “country over party,” against Dan Bishop, a Republican state senator who has been endorsed by Mr. Trump and who has welcomed the president’s characterization of Mr. McCready as an “ultra liberal” who “really admires socialism.”

Putting his political capital on the line, Mr. Trump campaigned with Mr. Bishop on Monday evening in Fayetteville, in the conservative eastern edge of the district, just hours before polls opened. Vice President Mike Pence also lent a hand on Monday, holding a rally in Wingate, N.C., on Mr. Bishop’s behalf.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160551399_e860c37d-1133-40cb-a1cc-52ea7aed1f9f-articleLarge North Carolina’s Special Election to Provide Test of Trump’s Clout United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J North Carolina Midterm Elections (2018) McCready, Dan Elections, House of Representatives Bishop, J Daniel (1964- )

Dan McCready, a Democrat, is running to flip control of the longtime Republican-held Ninth Congressional District.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

The Ninth District covers part of Charlotte and a number of exurban and rural counties to the east. It has not been represented by a Democrat since the early 1960s, and Mr. Trump won it by nearly 12 percentage points in 2016. But in the midterms of 2018, Mr. McCready, surfing the national anti-Trump mood, ran a close race, losing by 905 votes to the Republican candidate at the time, Mark Harris.

Then came one of the more bizarre plot twists in recent American politics: The state elections board threw out the entire election and ordered a new one after evidence surfaced that Mr. Harris’s campaign had funded an illegal vote-harvesting scheme in rural Bladen County.

Mr. McCready, 36, a businessman, decided to keep running, and has now been on the campaign trail for 27 straight months. A centrist, he has been focusing on the issue of health care affordability and criticizing Mr. Bishop for opposing the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Bishop, 55, a Charlotte lawyer, is perhaps best known statewide for sponsoring the so-called bathroom bill that required transgender people to use restrooms that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. He boasts of his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, and he has repeatedly attacked Mr. McCready by lumping him in with the more left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party.

Dan Bishop, the Republican nominee, spoke with supporters and staff in Monroe.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

Mr. Trump has tweeted his endorsement for Mr. Bishop and sent out a fund-raising email on his behalf. In July, Mr. Bishop spoke at Mr. Trump’s rally in Greenville, N.C., in which the crowd responded to the president’s attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Democrat, with chants of “Send her back!”

The election is effectively the last campaign of the 2018 season, and what alarms national Republicans is how ominously it recalls the midterm elections: As with so many races last year, a centrist Democrat has raised significantly more money than the Republican candidate in a historically conservative district that is now tilting toward the political center because of the suburban drift away from the G.O.P.

And just as in so many of the special elections leading up to Democratic victories, or near-wins, since 2017, local Republicans have beckoned Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence to compensate for the disparity in enthusiasm between the two candidates.

But as officials in both parties recognize, the president is not just a turnout lever for Republicans — he also inspires Democrats and some left-leaning independents.

At Olde Providence Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, voters moved in and out of their polling place at a steady trickle, braving 93-degree heat and a gauntlet of volunteers for local campaigns who lined the sidewalk outside.

The elementary school is surrounded by a relatively prosperous clutch of neighborhoods in South Charlotte — exactly the kind of place where Mr. McCready needs to rack up votes if he is to score an upset.

Lisa Rockholt, 58, a registered nurse, said she voted for Mr. McCready. She said she typically votes for both Republicans and Democrats, but was fed up with all the available options in the last presidential election, and wrote in her boyfriend’s name.

Ms. Rockholt said she disagreed with Mr. Bishop’s opposition to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in this state. As an R.N., she said, she has seen the toll that a lack of insurance can take on North Carolinians. And she liked Mr. McCready’s talk about keeping down the price of prescription drugs.

But she was mostly motivated by displeasure with Mr. Bishop’s attacking tone.

“I hated Bishop’s constant negative campaigning,” she said, adding that she never really heard what it was that Mr. Bishop stood for through all of the attacks. “It was all negative about McCready.”

Stephanie Dillon exited the polling place with her seven-week-old son, Wells, in a stroller. She considers herself a political independent and she recalled voting for Mitt Romney in a previous presidential election.

Ms. Dillon, 34, might represent a kind of nightmare-scenario voter for Mr. Bishop and Mr. Trump. Her conservatism is of the fiscal and business-friendly variety. She works in human resources, though she is on maternity leave now, and has seen the pressures that businesses must overcome to survive. But this time around, she voted for Mr. McCready.

She is not an immigration hard-liner (Mr. Bishop has referred to himself as “pro-wall”) and she has very few kind things to say about President Trump. “The whole kind of sexist persona totally turns me off,” she said, adding, “Why is he spending his time tweeting to celebrities?”

Chris Daleus, 38, a salesman, tends to vote Republican, but he, too, said he had voted for Mr. McCready. “I just really got a good vibe from him,” he said.

Mr. Daleus was impressed by Mr. McCready’s record of military service. Mr. Daleus also considers himself a libertarian conservative who values personal freedom, and was not a fan of Mr. Bishop’s bathroom bill.

Mr. Trump’s rally in Fayetteville on Monday did not sway Mr. Daleus, even though he voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. Although Mr. Daleus said he likes the president’s tax cuts, and his efforts to keep the country “internally focused,” he bristles at Mr. Trump’s unorthodox comportment. “He seems to have embarrassed us in a lot of ways,” he said.

Caroline Penland, 44, a Republican, said she voted for Mr. Bishop. She is a reliable Republican voter, and a Christian who opposes abortion and favors “keeping God in schools.” She also favors some gun control, after being deeply affected by a 2012 shooting that occurred at the high school from which she graduated.

But now, she said, was not a time to stray from the Republican fold. She voted for Mr. Trump and would do so again. “From an economical standpoint he’s doing really well.”

“First of all, he’s in my party. And I’m going to stick to my party right now,” Ms. Penland said of Mr. Bishop.

Ms. Penland, who works in marketing, also said that Mr. Bishop’s incessant ads targeting Mr. McCready stuck with her. She said her children were even referring to Mr. McCready as “McGreedy,” the epithet used against him in some attack ads.

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What You Need to Know About North Carolina’s Special Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Voters in a Republican-leaning North Carolina congressional district will choose a new representative on Tuesday in a special election that will test President Trump’s clout ahead of 2020 and Democrats’ ability to make inroads with the sort of suburban voters who propelled them to the House majority last year.

The polls close at 7:30 p.m.

The race pits Dan McCready, a Democrat and Marine veteran whose motto is “country over party,” against Dan Bishop, a Republican state senator who has been endorsed by Mr. Trump and welcomed the president’s characterization of Mr. McCready as an “ultra liberal” who “really admires socialism.”

Putting his political capital on the line, Mr. Trump campaigned with Mr. Bishop on Monday evening in Fayetteville, in the conservative eastern edge of the district, just hours before polls opened. And Vice President Mike Pence also lent a hand on Monday, holding a rally in Wingate, N.C., on Mr. Bishop’s behalf.

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Dan McCready, a Democrat, is running to flip control of the longtime Republican-held Ninth Congressional District.CreditLogan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

The Ninth District covers part of Charlotte and a number of exurban and rural counties to the east. It has not been represented by a Democrat since the early 1960s, and Mr. Trump won it by nearly 12 percentage points in 2016. But in the midterms of 2018, Mr. McCready, surfing the national anti-Trump mood, ran a close race, losing by 905 votes to the Republican candidate at the time, Mark Harris.

Then came one of the more bizarre plot twists in recent American politics: The state elections board threw out the entire election and ordered a new one after evidence surfaced that Mr. Harris’s campaign had funded an illegal vote-harvesting scheme in rural Bladen County.

Mr. McCready, 36, a businessman, decided to keep running, and has now been on the campaign trail for 27 straight months. A centrist, he has been focusing on the issue of health care affordability and criticizing Mr. Bishop for opposing the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Bishop, 55, a Charlotte lawyer, is perhaps best known statewide for sponsoring the controversial so-called bathroom bill that required transgender people to use restrooms that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. He boasts of his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, and he has repeatedly attacked Mr. McCready by lumping him with the more left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party.

Dan Bishop, the Republican nominee, spoke with supporters and staff in Monroe.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

Mr. Trump has tweeted his endorsement for Mr. Bishop and sent out a fund-raising email on his behalf. In July, Mr. Bishop spoke at Mr. Trump’s rally in Greenville, N.C., in which the crowd responded to the president’s attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born Democrat, with chants of “send her back!”

The election is effectively the last campaign of the 2018 season, and what alarms national Republicans is how ominously it recalls the midterm elections: As with so many races last year, a centrist Democrat has raised significantly more money than the Republican candidate in a historically conservative district that is now tilting toward the political center because of the suburban drift away from the G.O.P.

And just as in so many of the special elections leading up to Democratic victories, or near-wins, since 2017, local Republicans have beckoned Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence to compensate for the disparity in enthusiasm between the two candidates.

But as officials in both parties recognize, the president is not just a turnout lever for Republicans — he also inspires Democrats and some left-leaning independents.

With Democrats aggressively banking early votes and Mr. McCready enjoying a sizable fund-raising advantage until outside conservative groups rushed in advertising, Republicans had little choice but to call in 11th-hour reinforcements.

A Republican loss after such a presidential intervention would sow doubts about Mr. Trump’s appeal in a state his re-election campaign is depending on. But it could prove even more worrisome to the House G.O.P. A number of incumbent Republicans were already choosing to retire rather than run again in a year when Mr. Trump will be on top of the ticket and their chances of retaking the majority look increasingly poor.

Were Mr. Bishop to lose or even win narrowly, it might trigger a fresh wave of congressional Republican retirements: 15 House Republican lawmakers have already said they will not seek re-election.

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North Carolina Republicans to Pick Candidate for Congress in Fraud-Tainted District

North Carolina Republicans have controlled the state’s Ninth Congressional District since 1963. In November, the long streak appeared unbroken, and the party celebrated, relieved by a narrow 905-vote victory over the Democratic candidate.

But on Tuesday, Republican voters will return to the polls to pick someone to represent the party in a do-over election after last year’s seeming success collapsed in the wake of fraud accusations.

Some Republicans expect that Tuesday’s vote — part of a protracted process to resolve the final unsettled race of the midterms — will help them begin to escape the taint of wrongdoing that came to symbolize last year’s campaign for Congress in the Ninth District.

Republican after Republican qualified for this year’s race, which polling suggests is close, including State Senator Dan Bishop, who played a substantial role in North Carolina’s caustic battle a few years ago over bathroom access for transgender people, and Stony Rushing, the Union County commissioner who has won the support of Mark Harris, the Republican candidate whose campaign supported the illicit effort that prompted the new election.

If none of the 10 candidates wins at least 30 percent of the vote, the second-place finisher may request a second round of voting in September, ahead of a general election in November. If any candidate musters at least 30 percent on Tuesday, the general election will move to September.

The Democratic candidate will be Dan McCready, a former Marine who was his party’s candidate last fall.

Still, the campaign, lengthy as it has become, may end before a swirl of state and federal inquiries that have already led to charges against L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a contractor who oversaw an impropriety-ridden effort on behalf of Mr. Harris’s campaign.

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L. McCrae Dowless Jr. oversaw an impropriety-ridden effort on behalf of Mr. Harris’s campaign last year. Mr. Harris had appeared to win by 905 votes.CreditVeasey Conway for The New York Times

North Carolina regulators ordered a new election after they concluded in February that Mr. Dowless’s operatives — who acknowledged they had illegally collected and filled in absentee ballots — had compromised the vote. Mr. Harris appeared to have won the election by 905 votes, and although the state authorities did not explicitly conclude that there had been enough misconduct to tip the outcome in the Republican’s direction, they found that improprieties had been sufficiently widespread to undermine the balloting’s integrity.

Republicans initially resisted calls for a new election, which began within weeks of the midterm vote. But after days of damning testimony before the State Board of Elections, during which Mr. Harris appeared to mislead regulators, party officials conceded that another campaign was inevitable.

State regulators quickly agreed and essentially reset the district’s 2018 election by reopening candidate qualifying and ordering primary and general elections. The Ninth District includes a sliver of Charlotte and runs eastward to rural areas like Bladen County, where the most well-documented misconduct took place.

Three of the district’s most prominent Republicans — Mr. Harris, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Representative Robert M. Pittenger — declined to run in the new election. But the Republican field still quickly filled, and Democrats again coalesced around Mr. McCready.

In addition to Mr. Bishop and Mr. Rushing, candidates included Matthew Ridenhour, a former commissioner in Mecklenburg County, and Leigh Brown, a real estate agent. Along with registered Republicans, unaffiliated voters may cast ballots on Tuesday.

The winner, whether this week or in September, will take on a candidate who has been among the most celebrated in Democratic congressional politics in recent years. Although Republicans have held the House seat in the Ninth since the Kennedy administration, Mr. McCready proved a skilled candidate last year. During the drama before the regulators in Raleigh, he largely kept out of sight, leaving the most pointed of jabs to lawyers and Democratic campaign operatives.

Yet it was always clear that if the state ordered another vote, Mr. McCready would run again. The question was whether Mr. Harris would. By the end of February, Mr. Harris, who has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing, cited health reasons and said he would skip another campaign.

Mr. Dowless, who has been indicted in connection with voter-turnout efforts in the 2016 general election and the 2018 primary, has remained a subject of official investigation and public curiosity. On the first day of early voting, local news outlets reported, Mr. Dowless went to cast his ballot in Bladen County.

He was first in line.

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