North Carolina holds a special election

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11:01 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

What you need to know about the North Carolina special elections

A sample ballot is displayed at a voting precinct during the special election between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District on Sept. 10, 2019 in Marshville, North Carolina.
A sample ballot is displayed at a voting precinct during the special election between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District on Sept. 10, 2019 in Marshville, North Carolina. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Republican lawmakers were projected to win two special elections in North Carolina tonight.

In case you missed it, here's what you need to know about Tuesday's special elections:

  • The 9th District: State Sen. Dan Bishop will defeat Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race. The State Board of Elections ordered up a new election after credible allegations of ballot fraud emerged during the 2018 midterm contest.
  • About Bishop: He is best known for his lead role in passing North Carolina's "bathroom bill," legislation widely denounced as discriminatory and subsequently scaled back with the approval of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who had campaigned against it.
  • The 3rd District: Voters in the state's 3rd Congressional District chose Republican Greg Murphy, a Republican state lawmaker, over Democratic former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas.
  • About Murphy: He will fill Congressman Walter Jones' seat. Jones, who had represented the district since 1995, died in February.
  • What President Trump said: He tweeted praise for both victories tonight, saying, "BIG NIGHT FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!"

10:51 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

Trump touts Republican wins in North Carolina

President Trump touted Republican special election victories in North Carolina tonight in a series of tweets.

Trump praised Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop for his win over Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

"Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race. Big Rally last night. Now it looks like he is going to win," the President tweeted.

He also congratulated Republican Greg Murphy, who won North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District.

10:26 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

Republican Dan Bishop will narrowly win North Carolina's 9th District special election

State Sen. Dan Bishop will defeat Democrat Dan McCready in the North Carolina 9th Congressional District race, giving Republicans a narrow victory in the GOP-leaning district where Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016, CNN projects.

The race drew national attention as a potential 2020 bellwether in a district that stretched from the Charlotte suburbs to the military of Fayetteville. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both made trips to the district Monday in an effort to bolster Bishop.

The "do-over" special election came after the state board of elections refused to certify the 2018 House race results in the district after fraud allegations, ordering a new election.

 

8:58 p.m. ET, September 10, 2019

"One down, one to go": Trump tweets about North Carolina special elections

President Trump is projecting optimism about tonight's special elections in North Carolina.

Moments ago, he tweeted about Republican Greg Murphy, who is projected to win North Carolina's 3rd District.

"One down, one to go – Greg Murphy is projected to win in the Great State of North Carolina! #NC03," Trump tweeted.

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.