Even though the Democrats were heavily focused on winning in North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th Congressional Districts and even though they outspent the GOP heavily, Republicans Dan Bishop and Greg Murphy came out the winners in Tuesday’s special elections.
The two elections, months in the making, were seen as referendums on whether the president could hold on to majorities in red states that propelled him into the White House.
Republican Greg Murphy won his Third Congressional District easily, holding on to a seat left vacant when Representative Walter Jones died back in February. But the hotly contested race was with Dan Bishop in the Ninth Congressional District where it was literally a dead heat in the final pre-election polls. In the end, Bishop pulled out a victory by about 2 percentage points.
So, how did they win with the odds so stacked against them? For example, McCready’s campaign spent approximately $4.7 million on the race, while Bishop’s spent only $1.9 million. An old rule of thumb in politics is he who spends the most wins. But that didn’t happen in this election.
So, what happened? Donald Trump happened.
According to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, President Trump rallied North Carolina voters and helped push the candidates into the win category. Specifically, Trump’s last-minute campaign stump on Monday night gave Bishop a last-minute boost, which helped him squeeze out a narrow victory in the close special election.
Congratulations to Dan Bishop on his win in #NC09!
Despite being massively outspent by Democrats, @realDonaldTrump rallied voters and put Bishop over the top.
A huge win for the president and our grassroots field program that’s working hard to elect Republicans in 2020!
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) September 11, 2019
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.
Decision Desk HQ called the race for Bishop at 9:54 p.m. eastern, but no other media outlet had yet called the race.
Both parties spent heavily in this election as it is considered a key 2020 battleground state.
Bishop is a conservative Republican coming from the North Carolina State Senate, and he made his campaign about strong support for President Trump’s MAGA agenda. Trump came out in strong support for Bishop, appearing with him at a rally in the eastern part of the district, Fayetteville, where he strongly criticized McCready for supporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the socialist agenda of the Squad.
From an RNC source, here’s some insight on how the GOP came out on top in this election:
• The RNC began their ground game in North Carolina back in June.
• Between RNC staff and volunteers, over a half a million voters were contacted throughout the state. Those contacts were made by phone and door knocking.
• The RNC, Trump Campaign, and Trump Make America Great Again Committee recently highlighted the NC specials and the Bishop campaign raised nearly $200,000 in grassroots donations utilizing the WinRed platform.
• The GOP began laying the groundwork for a national convention next summer and operation for President Trump’s re-election, as well as down-ballot races.
• The RNC invested a total of $1.5 million in North Carolina to date.
The vote totals, by county, with 86 percent of precincts reporting as of 9:50 p.m. eastern time were:
• Union – Bishop 36,165 McCready 23,751
• Mecklenburg – Bishop 24,081 McCready 31,615
• Robeson – Bishop 9,454 McCready 10,054
• Cumberland – Bishop 4,311 McCready 4,862
• Richmond – Bishop 4,713 McCready 4,276
• Scotland – Bishop 2,804 McCready 3,644
• Anson – Bishop 2,375 McCready 3,159
• Bladen – Bishop 2,041 McCready 1,716