Polls have closed in a pivotal North Carolina special House election that will not only decide the winner of a long-vacant House seat but also potentially signal how President Trump will perform in the 2020 presidential election.
Republican candidate Dan Bishop, a conservative state senator, was hoping a pair of visits Monday to the GOP-leaning 9th Congressional District by both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence would boost him to victory over Democrat Dan McCready.
Should Bishop defeat McCready, it would enable Trump to assert that he pushed Bishop over the top. If McCready prevails or Bishop wins by a whisker despite Trump’s broad support in the Republican Party, it might suggest GOP erosion and raise questions about Trump’s and his party’s viability for 2020.
State officials ordered the unusual special election earlier this year, invalidating a win by GOP candidate Mark Harris over McCready in the 2018 midterms after uncovering ballot fraud efforts.
Some analysts have said the fraud scandal could harm Bishop’s prospects unfairly, and undermine any attempts to draw larger lessons from the race.
For their part, Trump and Pence threw their full-throated support behind Bishop.
“To stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow’s special election,” Trump told attendees at a fiery rally in Fayetteville, N.C., on Monday night. The president then slammed McCready as a dangerous proponent of “sanctuary cities” and rolling back gun rights.