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Trump-Backed Republican Wins Tightly Contested N.C. House Race

Greg Sullivan

(Bloomberg) -- Republican Dan Bishop won a North Carolina special election Tuesday for a House seat, dashing Democratic hopes to swipe this partly suburban district from Republican hands ahead of President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election effort.

Bishop, a state senator, defeated Democrat Dan McCready, a solar-energy businessman and Marine Corps veteran who also ran in last November’s election. The original race was invalidated by the state’s elections board because of evidence of absentee-ballot fraud connected to the campaign of Republican Mark Harris.

Holding on to North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, represented by Republicans for more than half a century, was a relief for Trump, who made a major effort to bolster Bishop’s candidacy. Still, the close contest forced the GOP to spend time and money in what has traditionally been friendly territory, a district where Trump won by 12 percentage points in 2016.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both traveled to the district Monday for campaign events in support of Bishop. The president also took to Twitter several times to praise Bishop and urge district residents to turn out for early voting.

Outside groups spent at least $10.5 million to influence the outcome of the race, Federal Election Commission records show. The candidates combined to spend $6.2 million through August 21.

Heading into election day, polls showed a close race. Trump carried the district by 54% to 42% in the 2016 election, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He won North Carolina, a swing state with 15 electoral votes, by 4 percentage points.

The district accounts for one of two House vacancies. Voters in North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district also went to the polls today to determine who would replace Republican Walter Jones, who died in February. Republican state House member Greg Murphy won that race.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Sullivan in Washington at gsullivan32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kasia Klimasinska at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Joe Sobczyk

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