North Carolina State Senator Dan Bishop has secured the win late Tuesday night against Democrat Dan McCready in a high-profile Congressional special election that both national parties had their eyes on.
Though President Trump won North Carolina's 9th Congressional District by 12 points, the race was considered extremely competitive heading into Tuesday. Bishop's win is a morale boost for Republicans heading into 2020, after losing the House majority in 2018 and a string of Republican retirements.
Democrats were focusing on the district as a test if their 2018 "blue wave" would continue and gain momentum heading into an election year.
"I hope the Democrats in Washington are watching and realize what they're doing is not working," Bishop said at his election watch party in Union county.
Bishop also specifically thanked the Republican National Committee and its Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
According to an RNC spokesperson, the committee has been on the ground in the North Carolina special elections since June 2019 and has 20 full-time staffers in the state.
Republicans and Bishop were confident their attachment of McCready with the far-left would signal the strength of their messaging heading into an election year. Bishop was hoping a last minute trip from Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who called Bishop to congratulate him, would motivate Republicans to race to the polls and put him over the top.
"I've had a very strong feeling that we were surging the last couple of weeks, it was clear that we had. We started off 12 months back, with an opponent that had been in the race for months and months and over two years," Bishop told CBS News earlier on election day. "It's just been great support and we're appreciative of it."
in Fayetteville that the election was an important chance for Republicans to "send a clear message to the America hating left."
The 9th district contains parts of the Charlotte suburbs, which Democrats were eyeing to see if changing populations would affect traditionally red suburbs that voted for Mr. Trump. McCready did see in increase from 2018 in Mecklenberg County, which contains parts of the Charlotte suburbs. However, he did failed to turn out the democratic vote in more rural counties he won in 2018, such as Richmond and Cumberland county.
The loss for McCready comes after 27 months of campaigning throughout the state's district.
McCready told his election night crowd in Mecklenburg county that he called Bishop to concede and congratulate him, and that this election effort "helped move the country forward."
"We may not have won this campaign but that does not mean we were wrong," he said. "And as long as there are people who thrive off our division, there is still work to be done. Tonight its okay to be disappointed, it's okay to be exhausted, but it is not okay to give up."
Despite being called as a do-over after 2018's controversy, the special election faced its own obstacles heading into Tuesday. Turnout in an off-year was a worry for both campaigns, especially after Hurricane Dorian hit the state in early August and caused the state board of elections to close early voting locations and extend them into the weekend. In addition, there was a 25-minute extension caused by a gas leak in one precinct hours before polls were set to close.
Hurricane Dorian had strongly affected locations in North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District, which had its special results called early on for Republican candidate Greg Murphy. This district was thought to be even more uphill battle for any Democrat — Mr. Trump won it by more than 20 points in 2016.
A presidential battleground state that Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016, North Carolina will also have elections for governor and the U.S. next year. The race in the 9th District is seen as an early indicator of how the state and Republican-leaning suburbs nationwide are feeling as 2020 approaches.
The filing deadline for the district's 2020 race is in 101 days.