North Carolina holds a special election

8:50 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

Republican Greg Murphy will win North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District race

CNN projects Republican Greg Murphy will win a special election in North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District, beating Democrat Allen Thomas.

Voters in the state's 3rd Congressional District chose Murphy, a Republican state lawmaker, over the former Greenville mayor.

Why this matters: The special election in the Republican-leaning district was called after Jones, who had represented the district since 1995, died in February. 

8:12 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

Here's what one GOP strategist is saying about tonight's special election

One GOP strategist involved with the special election race in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District appeared to manage expectations ahead of tonight’s results.

The district's seat in the House of Representatives is currently vacant due to fraud in the 2018 midterm election. The district, which President Trump won handily in 2016, has been held by Republicans since 1963, setting up tonight's election as a test of the momentum that carried Democrats to control the House in 2018.

All internal and public polling, the source said, shows the race will be extremely close, pointing to Hurricane Dorian and the fact that this was a “re-do” election. 

The source acknowledged that Democrat Dan McCready has been able to pick up Republican votes in the district, which stretches from suburban Charlotte to the military country of Fayetteville.

McCready, the source said, has nearly 100% name recognition with voters after running for two full years. A former Marine, McCready's campaign slogan — “Country over party” — has resonated with some Republican voters. “He’s acceptable” to Republicans, the source said.

Some background: The fraud that upended last November’s results, according to the source, has been a turnoff to some Republican voters. There has been evidence of high propensity voters who lean Republican, the source said, voting for McCready due to concerns about the scandal that rocked the district.

There has also been evidence, the source said, that Republican Dan Bishop, who was an architect of the controversial House Bill 2, has been hurt by his involvement with the bathroom bill. It hasn’t had “much” impact, according to the source, but it has hurt Bishop with voters in the suburban Charlotte area, and in a race that could be determined by a small margin, “It matters.”

McCready also had a ground game advantage: He had a little over $1.5 million entering the general election when Bishop came out of his primary battle this spring, and has 24 field staffers across the district.

But the source downplayed what tonight's results could mean for 2020.

“Could be bad, or could be just a unique situation,” the source said.
7:32 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

North Carolina's 9th District is very Republican — but the Democrat still has a chance

The race between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop will likely be a close one.

There hasn't been any non-partisan live interview polling of the district, but data that has been released to the public shows a close race. No poll released to the public has had either up by more than 4 points.

And Republicans should be dominating this district:

  • President Trump won it by 12 points in 2016
  • Mitt Romney won it by 12 points in 2012

To give you some perspective of how unusual it would be for a Democrat to win such a Republican district, keep in mind that Democrats represent only four districts won by a larger margin.

7:36 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

The polls are now closed

Polls have closed in a special election for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

Democrat Dan McCready is facing off against Republican Dan Bishop.

Why this matters: McCready, a Marine Corps veteran, appeared to suffer a narrow defeat — by fewer than 1,000 votes — to Republican Mark Harris last November, but evidence of ballot fraud by a GOP operative connected with Harris surfaced before the results could be certified.

State investigators' long inquest drew national attention and, after a dramatic February finale, the North Carolina election board voted to re-run the race. Harris stood down almost immediately and Republican voters subsequently nominated Bishop.

In addition to the Bishop-McCready race, voters in the state's 3rd Congressional District will choose between Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy and Democratic former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas. The special election in the Republican-leaning district was called after GOP Rep. Walter Jones, who had represented the district since 1995, died in February. 

7:20 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

Trump is urging North Carolina to vote for Bishop

PresidentTrump arrives for a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at The Crown Arena in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
PresidentTrump arrives for a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at The Crown Arena in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

President Trump tweeted this morning that Republican Dan Bishop is "badly" needed in Washington, urging voters to back him in today's special election in North Carolina's 9th District.

The tweet came a day after the President held a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The state's 9th District stretches east from the suburban south Charlotte area past Fayetteville.

7:14 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

About the other North Carolina election happening today

All eyes are on the tight race in North Carolina's 9th District, a special election that was called after credible allegations of ballot fraud surfaced after the 2018 midterm.

But that race — between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop — isn't the only one happening in the state today.

Voters in the state's 3rd Congressional District will likely be choosing between Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy and Democratic former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas. They are vying to replace the late GOP Rep. Walter Jones, who died in February.

Early voting, which began last month, is now over. The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET today.

7:08 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

Today's race could foreshadow what will happen in 2020

The race between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop looks like it could be close — which could foreshadow bad news for the Republicans in 2020.

Consider this: Republicans should be dominating this district. President Trump won it by 12 points in 2016. Mitt Romney won it by 12 points in 2012. To give you some perspective of how unusual it would be for a Democrat to win such a Republican district, keep in mind that Democrats represent only four districts won by a larger margin.

And let there be little doubt: Trump's name may not be on the ballot, but a lot of this election is about him. Bishop is using Trump heavily in his advertisements, and the President held a rally in the district on Monday night.

Here's the bottom line: In this era in which feelings toward a president seem to be more determinative of vote choice than at any point in recent history, a Democratic victory or a close GOP win in a district Trump won by 12 in 2016 would be suggestive that Trump's brand is tarnished ahead of 2020.

6:45 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

This Republican narrowly led in the 2018 race. He's not on the ballot tonight.

Mark Harris speaks during a "Make America Great Again" rally in 2018.
Mark Harris speaks during a "Make America Great Again" rally in 2018.

The seemingly never-ending election to represent North Carolina's 9th Congressional District will (probably) come to a close on Tuesday.

A quick recap: In 2018, Republican Mark Harris was narrowly ahead of Democrat Dan McCready (It was by fewer than 1,000 votes). But credible allegations of ballot fraud caused the State Board of Elections to order a new election in the district,

Tonight's ballot: Harris decided not to run again in the special election. Instead, McCready will face off against Republican Dan Bishop. The race looks like it could be close, which could foreshadow bad news for the Republicans in 2020.

6:29 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

The final votes of 2018 will be cast today

More than 10 months after Election Day, the final votes of the 2018 midterms will be cast on Tuesday in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

Democrat Dan McCready, a Marine Corps veteran, appeared to suffer a narrow defeat — by fewer than 1,000 votes — to Republican Mark Harris last November, but evidence of ballot fraud by a GOP operative connected with Harris surfaced before the results could be certified.

Harris stood down almost immediately and Republican voters subsequently nominated state Sen. Dan Bishop.