The North Carolina special congressional election is the last contest of the 2018 midterms. Republican Dan Bishop won in a close contest over Democrat Dan McCready. It was a 51/49 split.
Both parties have some bragging rights. A win is a win. Republicans will retain the seat that the GOP has held since John Kennedy was President of the United States. North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District has long been considered a safe Republican seat – although less so in recent years. President Trump carried the District by twelve percentage points.
Democrats have some claim to bragging rights, too. Had they won that seat, it would have been a BIG story – an upset – and more alleged evidence of the potential weakness of the Trump-led Republican Party heading into the 2020 General Election. The fact that the race was as close as it was is significant.
In and of itself, it might be viewed as an outlier. After all, the special election was called after the courts determined that the local Republican Party had suppressed the vote in the verrry close contest in 2018, where McCready was in an even tighter race with then GOP candidate Mark Harris – who was ahead by only 905 votes when the courts ordered a re-do of the election.
While Democrats inflate the meaning of their narrow defeat, we need to remember that just three weeks ago Bishop was 17 points behind McCready – and was expected to lose. Even on the eve of the election, Bishop was either behind or in a statistical tie with McCready.
The GOP poured millions of dollars into the race. Vice President Pence campaigned on behalf of Bishop and President Trump held one of his iconic rallies in the District on the eve of the election. Most Pundits – including Democrats – believe Trump made a difference. Whether he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat is subjective, but he did help – and that is significant since the left sees Trump as a political pariah.
Saying that the closeness of the race is a harbinger of political trouble for Trump and congressional Republicans is a stretch – especially with more than a year to go and before a single primary has taken place. It may serve to give the appearance of substance to the anti-Trump narratives but offers virtually no insight to events fourteen months from now.
As far as any good news coming out of the North Carolina special election, I give it a 60/40 advantage GOP.
So, there ‘tis.