In a pair of special elections for House of Representatives seats in North Carolina framed as important indicators for the 2020 presidential election, Republicans (and by proxy Donald Trump) swept both. In the 3rd district, an R+12 district that Trump carried by 24% and was vacated because of the death of Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican Greg Murphy won over Democrat Allen Thomas by about 24 points as well, 61.7% to 37.5%. The more interesting case comes from the 9th district, where a special election was held due to a staffer for the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, being convicted on voter fraud charges.
Nearly $6 million in outside spending and a rally held by President Trump himself helped propel North Carolina Republican Dan Bishop to a 2-point victory, under-performing the President’s 2016 victory by 10 points and the registration advantage by 6 points, but improving upon the fraudulent 2018 Republican victory by 1.5% and holding the seat for the GOP. The victory may seem underwhelming, but if Republicans could gain 1.5% in every House seat in 2020, they’d gain 7 seats, cutting the Democratic edge in the House to 22 seats (from the current 36). The number could also be higher, considering this election was marred by scandal for the Republicans. However, similar to the pre-2018 special elections, Republicans won’t be able to replicate the amount of outside influence in all elections in 2020.
The Democrat, Dan McCready of North Carolina, isn’t as progressive as the national Democrats are. His healthcare plan is moderate, he supports “fair trade” mirroring Trump’s policies, he opposes burdensome regulations, he is a Marine veteran, and he supports a “physical barrier” on the southern border. If a moderate Democrat can’t win a special election forced by a convicted fraudster, further-left Democrats may have a hard time taking the White House and holding the House of Representatives in 2020.
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