CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Republicans are scrambling to avoid what would be a devastating loss in the special House election in North Carolina’s 9th District.
Internal polls from both sides show Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready running neck and neck in a traditional GOP stronghold that was unexpectedly competitive in 2018. But privately, several Republican officials and strategists have conceded that Democrats may have an edge in voter enthusiasm in a district that President Trump won by nearly 12 points in 2016.
Republicans have sought to nationalize the race by honing in on issues like Trump’s proposed border wall and labeling McCready a “socialist.” They’re hoping that an eleventh-hour visit to the district by Trump on Monday will lend them the momentum they need to push Bishop across the finish line on Tuesday.
In an interview with The Hill on Saturday, Bishop insisted that Trump’s planned rally in the district, as well as an appearance by Vice President Pence on Monday, would give his candidacy a final jolt heading into Election Day.
“The sense that we have is that we’re surging,” Bishop said. “Early voting sort of started out a little soft and has firmed up. It looked really good the last couple days. And I think with the president coming in and the vice president on Monday, that’s going to put us over the top.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s rally in North Carolina will serve as a measure of his clout in trying to elect a Republican to the House in a closely watched special election that’s seen as a tossup race.
It will be his first campaign rally since a tough end of summer that saw slipping poll numbers, warning signs of an economic slowdown and a running battle over hurricane forecasts.
Trump will visit the state Monday night on the eve of the House election. He enjoys wide popularity within his own party, but a GOP defeat in a red-leaning state could, when combined with a wave of recent bad headlines, portend trouble for his reelection campaign.
The rally may also pose a different sort of test: It will be held just over a 100 miles from the site of a Trump rally in July where “send her back” chants aimed at a Somali-born American congresswoman rattled the Republican Party and seemed to presage an ugly reelection campaign.
Trump’s appearance Monday on behalf of Republican Dan Bishop is shaping up as a test of the president’s pull with voters. The special election could offer clues about the mindset of Republicans in the suburbs, whose flight from the party fueled the GOP’s 2018 House election losses.