MATTHEWS – N.C. Sen. Dan Bishop was in an upbeat mood around lunchtime May 14 as the Republican 9th District congressional candidate greeted primary voters at Elizabeth Lane Elementary School.
Bishop was confident about his chances of getting at least 30 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff in the 10-candidate race as just about every voter he greeted seemed to be a supporter.
“I feel good about it,” Bishop said, and his instincts were dead on.
The two-term state senator rolled to an impressive win in capturing the Republican nomination. Bishop carried all eight counties in a district that stretches from southern Mecklenburg all the way to Fayetteville.
Bishop finished with 48 percent of the vote, easily distancing Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, who finished second with 20 percent of the vote. Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour was third with 17 percent of the vote.
Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready in the Sept. 10 general election, which is the same date as the municipal Republican and Democratic primaries in Charlotte. Minutes after declaring victory in front of supporters at a south Charlotte restaurant, Bishop set his sights on the Democratic nominee.
“Voters in the 9th District deserve a clear choice, and we are going to give them one,” Bishop said. “We have work to do. I heard every day and at the polls today was no different, the people are astonished and amazed and dismayed at what they see coming out of Washington these days from the liberal crazy clowns. Socialism, open borders, infanticide, 90-percent tax rates, having prison inmates vote and it could go on and on. It is something new every day. And wrong Dan McCready went through two elections without telling anyone where he stood on any issue.’’
The special election was called after last November’s election was invalidated by the North Carolina Board of Elections after alleged absentee ballot fraud emerged in Bladen County on behalf of then-GOP candidate Mark Harris. Harris endorsed the call for a new election but did not run in the primary, citing health issues.
Democrats also wasted no time in focusing on the September general election.
“As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, clean energy entrepreneur and a job creator, Dan McCready is ready to get to work serving North Carolina in Congress,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman Cheri Bustos, who is a Congresswoman from Illinois. “Rampant Republican election fraud robbed thousands of North Carolinians of the right to vote that Dan McCready fought to defend in uniform. Dan McCready’s record of service and his commitment to fighting for lower health care costs and better job opportunities for North Carolina is why he’s clearly the best candidate in this race.”
McCready was unopposed in the Democratic Primary and he will enter the general election campaign with a sizable war chest in a race that is expected to draw national attention and millions of dollars in outside campaign spending. Since declaring for the special election, McCready has raised $2 million and had $1.6 million on hand at the end of the April, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Bishop raised $505,000, including a $250,000 loan from himself, and had $184,000 on hand as of the April 24 FEC report, but fellow Republicans said the nominee will have sufficient resources to compete with McCready.
Former Union County Republican Party Chairman Dan Barry, who endorsed Bishop in the primary, said the Republican nominee will have no problem raising the money to run a competitive campaign.
“Dan Bishop had a really strong showing (in the primary),” Barry said. “I think it is fantastic that we don’t have a runoff and I am looking forward to the race between Dan McCready, no stand Dan, and Dan Bishop. This is a conservative district, this is a Republican seat and I think we will do very well.”
Jeff Scott, a Charlotte Libertarian, and Allen Smith, a Charlotte Green Party member, are also in the congressional race.