Dems Concede Trump's Major Role in Helping GOP Win NC Special Election
Democrat's have been desperately looking for signs that a blue wave is building that will give them dominance in Congress and flip the White House to their side.
They didn't get it in North Carolina's 9th district.
A closely watched special election gave the Democrat's a perfect opportunity to strike a psychological blow against Trump and the Republicans when their candidate, Dan McReady, jumped out to a huge lead in the polls. The Democrats poured money into the race and worked to get out their vote in the GOP-leaning district.
Then, Trump entered the picture.
Even Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman Cheri Bustos acknowledged that the president contributed to Bishop's win, writing in a statement, "We fell an inch short tonight, but it took more than $6 million in outside Republican spending and a last-minute Trump rally" to seal Democratic candidate Dan McCready's fate in the 9th District.
McCready's campaign spent approximately $4.7 million on the race, while Bishop's spent only $1.9 million. Outside spending primarily from national party committees helped Bishop to the tune of $5.8 million, though, compared to McCready's roughly $1.4 million.
The clean sweep heartened the president, who has long emphasized the national implications at stake. Trump unloaded on McCready in the fiery rally on Monday night, telling attendees that "to stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow's special election."
That effort, Trump said late Tuesday, had clearly paid dividends.
Trump tried out some attack lines on the Democrats during his rally on Monday that we might be hearing from a lot of Republicans come November 2020.
At the rally Monday, the president specifically called out McCready as a dangerous proponent of "sanctuary cities" and rolling back gun rights.
"Just recently, Mecklenburg County set free an illegal alien charged with first-degree rape and crimes against a child," Trump said, his voice rising. "Support for sanctuary cities is disloyalty to American cities — and McCready wants sanctuary cities, with all of their protections for people who are serious criminals. Tomorrow is your chance to send a clear message to the America-hating left."
The special election was called when the Republican candidate Mark Harris's 2018 campaign against McCready was accused of fraud in winning a close race. Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016 but, like many suburban districts, it had been trending blue in recent elections.
McCready was counting on a turnout of more moderate suburban voters to put him over the top. But the energy appeared to be all on the Republican side on election day. Trump's presence put Bishop over the top.
What should encourage the Republicans the most is not just Trump's obvious ability to energize Republicans, but that the GOP message still resonates with Trump voters. Whatever hopes the Democrats had of Trump supporters losing faith will have to wait another day.