02:24 - Source: CNN
Congressman-elect: Trump and Pence put us over the top
Washington CNN —  

Congressman-elect Dan Bishop on Wednesday credited President Donald Trump’s endorsement and last-minute trip to the district this week with helping him win the North Carolina 9th Congressional District special election.

“We were far behind. We were making progress, but the President and Vice President (Mike) Pence coming in, I think, it put us over the top,” Bishop said on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday, fresh off his victory Tuesday night.

Bishop said Trump’s visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina, was a “big deal” and a “testament to the boldness of this President that he reached out.”

Bishop, a state senator best known for the state’s “bathroom bill,” beat Democrat Dan McCready in the special election Tuesday by about 2 points in a Republican-leaning district that Trump won by nearly 12 points in 2016.

The seat had been vacant since the 2018 midterms after credible allegations of ballot fraud caused the state elections board to throw out the results and order a new election earlier this year.

McCready appeared to suffer a narrow defeat of 905 votes to Republican Mark Harris last November, but Harris decided not to run again in the special election – allowing for Republicans to nominate Bishop in a May primary.

The close results in 2018 and Tuesday’s election point to a waning advantage for Republicans in suburban areas during the Trump era. Republicans would have been expected to dominate in a district that Trump carried and in a seat they’ve held since the early 1960s.

Bishop told CNN on Wednesday that the narrow margin in his race could be explained by his late arrival to the race.

“This race was going on for a long time before I joined it. I’ve only been in six months and really, just six weeks did we have a level playing field financially with the campaign on the other side that was running with, you know, $10 million, $12 million of outside money, seeking to flip the seat blue. “

CNN’s Gregory Krieg and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.