GOP holds North Carolina House seat but shows frailty in suburbs

Posted Wednesday, 11 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

RALEIGH, N.C. — Conservative Republican Dan Bishop won a special election for an open House seat in North Carolina, averting a demoralizing Democratic capture of a district the GOP has held for nearly six decades. But his narrow victory didn't erase questions about whether President Donald Trump and his party's congressional candidates face troubling headwinds approaching 2020. Bishop, a state senator best known for a North Carolina law dictating which public bathrooms transgender people can use, defeated centrist Democrat Dan McCready on Tuesday. Bishop tied himself tightly to Trump, who staged an election eve rally for him in the district, and Tuesday's voting seemed no less than a referendum on the Republican president, who quickly took credit for the triumph. "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," Trump tweeted. No polling has emerged publicly that showed Bishop with a deficit of that magnitude. Operatives from both parties and analysts had long said the race was too close to call. The results in the district underscored the rural-urban split between the parties, with Bishop, 55, running up substantial numbers in outlying areas and McCready eroding GOP advantages in suburban areas. McCready's moderate profile resembled that of many Democrats who won in Republican-leaning districts in the 2018 midterms and, even with the loss on Tuesday, showed the durability of that approach. Bishop's margin — a little more than 2 percentage points — was far less than the 11 percentage points by which Trump captured the district in 2016. And it was only slightly greater than when then-GOP candidate Mark Harris seemed to win the seat over McCready, 36, last year — before those results were annulled after evidence of vote tampering surfaced and a new election was ordered. Republicans have held the seat since 1963, and its loss would have been a worrisome preface to the party's presidential and congressional campaigns next year. "I think it means Trump is going to get a second term, and Republicans will retake the majority," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in an interview with The Associated Press. Many analysts think a GOP takeover will be difficult. Special elections generally attract such low turnout that their results aren't predictive of future general elections. Even so, the narrow margin in the GOP-tilted district suggested that Democrats' 2018 string of victories in suburban districts in red states including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas could persist next year. Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who runs House Democrats' political committee, said the close race showed her party is "pushing further into Republican strongholds" and was in a "commanding position" to do well next year. Michael Bitzer, a politics professor at Catawba College in North Carolina, said the narrow margin suggests that the country's other closely divided swing districts "could be still up for grabs." There is almost no pathway to Republicans regaining House control next year unless they avoid losing more suburban districts and win back some they lost last year. The district stretches from Charlotte, one of the nation's financial nerve centers, through its flourishing eastern suburbs and into less prosperous rural counties along the South Carolina line. More than half its voters were expected to come from the suburbs. Since Trump became president, voters in such communities — particularly women and college-educated voters — have abandoned Trump in droves over his conservative social policies and vitriolic rhetoric on immigration and race. Suburban defections would also jeopardize the reelection prospects of Trump, who's already facing slipping poll numbers. Limiting the erosion of those voters will be crucial for him to retain swing states like North Carolina, which he won by less than 4 percentage points in 2016. But Tuesday's vote showed that Bishop benefited from the district's conservative leanings. "Bishop, his policies follow my convictions — after hearing Bishop, knowing that he's for the Second Amendment and he's against illegal immigration," said Susie Sisk, 73, a retiree from Mint Hill. The registered Democrat said she voted for Bishop. Along with a GOP victory in a second vacant House district in North Carolina, Republicans pared the Democratic majority in the House to 235-199, plus one independent. That means to win control of the chamber in 2020, Republicans will need to gain 19 seats, which a slew of GOP retirements and demographic changes around the country suggests will be difficult. In the day's other special election, Republican Greg Murphy, a doctor and state legislator, defeated Democrat Allen Thomas — as expected — to keep a House district along North Carolina's Atlantic coast. That seat has been vacant since February, when 13-term GOP Rep. Walter Jones died, and Trump won the district handily in 2016. The bathroom law that Bishop sponsored was repealed after it prompted a national outcry and boycotts that the AP estimated cost North Carolina $3.7 billion. Bishop bound himself tightly to Trump, backing his proposed border wall with Mexico and accusing Trump critics of being intent on "destroying him." "The voters said no to radical, liberal polices pushed by today's Democratic Party," Bishop said in a victory speech. McCready, a former Marine who started a firm that's financed solar energy projects to cast himself as a job creator and environmental champion. He also focused on containing health care costs and ran a spot featuring his trademark promise to prioritize "country over party." In his concession speech, McCready referred to the ballot fraud investigation that led to Tuesday's special election. "When the people in power sought to silence the voices of the voters, stole their ballots, forged signatures from them, filled in vote choices for them," McCready said, "we fought back and we won." At a rally Trump staged for Bishop in July, Trump said four Democratic women of color should "go back" to their home countries, though all but one was born in the U.S. The crowd began chanting "Send her back!" Associated Press writers Emery P. Dalesio and Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report from Raleigh, N.C.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Fury overcomes bloody cut over eye to beat Wallin Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS — Blood was flowing down Tyson Fury's right cheek, and Otto Wallin was in his face. His scheduled rematch with Deontay Wilder suddenly in jeopardy, Fury needed to dig deep in a fight that wasn't supposed to be this hard. Fury did just that...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

DETROIT — The United Auto Workers union announced Sunday that its roughly 49,000 workers at General Motors plants in the U.S. would go on strike just before midnight because contentious talks on a new contract had broken down. About 200 plant-level...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

California and Arizona State have moved into the AP Top 25 college football poll to give the Pac-12 six ranked teams, the most for the conference in almost four years. A weekend filled with blowouts left the top half of the AP media poll presented by...

Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid US-Iran tension Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom's oil production threatened Sunday to fuel regional tensions, as Iran denied U.S. allegations it launched the assault and...

A safe bet: August isn’t always a day at the beach Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Why can’t a fellow take a little time off in the dog days of summer without something big happening in his absence? The first time I remember the danger of vacationing in August was in 1972. My parents loved to travel to Southern California during that ...

High-flying Aces worthy of support as they begin WNBA Playoffs run Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The Aces, in just their second year, emerged from the regular season as one of the league’s top four teams, earning a bye in the first round of the eight-team playoffs. After narrowly missing out on postseason competition during the team’s inaugural...

Bill would boost end-of-life care Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

There comes a time in many of our lives when we either take or are given the responsibility of caring for a seriously or terminally ill family member. It is a hard job and unfortunately can be made harder by our confusing and fragmented healthcare...

Different views, but we’re friends Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A Sept. 10 letter(“Time to reveal the brutal truth,”) suggests people who support PresidentDonald Trump cannot be friends with people who don’t. I say yes they can. My friend is African American, a Democrat and strongly dislikes most everything...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The sixth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now under way, effective July 1. Bankrolls start at $10,000 for each of the four participants, with the objective to increase it as much as possible over ...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

One year ago, Max Pacioretty was enjoying fifth day as a Golden Knight, Mark Stone was still an Ottawa Senator and Paul Stastny had yet to wear a Vegas sweater in a game. Hockey players aren’t different from anyone making a big move in needing time to...

Letters draw disagreement Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Two letters on Sept. 11 caught my eye. The first was regarding Walmart’s plan to stop selling guns and ammunition (“Walmart’s move is cowardly.” The writer claims that the plan “defangs” the Second Amendment to the Constitution. It does no...

Readers weigh in on R-J’s attempt to break business relationship with Sun Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Editor’s note: When the Las Vegas Review-Journal announced legal action last month to break the Joint Operating Agreement under which the Las Vegas Sun and the R-J have operated for 30 years, readers of the publications took notice. In the ...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

That didn’t take long. In only the second week since the Sun’s handicapping contest implemented a two-point best bet, two of the four competitors are lining up on opposite sides. The cause of the week 2 dissension is an AFC West division showdown...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WILDWOOD, N.J. — A home's multilevel deck collapsed Saturday evening at the Jersey Shore during an event weekend, trapping people and injuring at least 22, including some children, officials said. No deaths were reported. The collapse happened around 6 ...

Posted Sunday, 15 September 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

YUMA, Ariz. — On a dirt road past rows of date trees, just feet from a dry section of Colorado River, a small construction crew is putting up a towering border wall that the government hopes will reduce — for good — the flow of immigrants who cross ...