Dan Bishop, known as the HB2 architect, defeated Democrat Dan McCready in a special election on Tuesday, in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
The Republican, who was the sponsor of the state’s anti-LGBTQ law HB2 that nullified non-discrimination orders and attempted to regulate bathroom use in public buildings, which led to boycotts and eventually the compromise bill HB142, got help from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Both came to the state to stump for the candidate in the race ordered by the state elections board following alleged election fraud.
Bishop narrowly defeated McCready in a district that went for Trump in 2016 by 12 points and hasn’t been held by a Democrat since the early 1960s, giving a glimmer of hope to progressives despite the loss.
Bishop won 51% of the vote, compared to McCready’s 49%, in the heavily gerrymandered district. Despite the district leaning solidly to the right, the race was seen by many observers as an indicator of how Trump and his fellow Republicans will fare in the upcoming 2020 race.
Trump took credit for Bishop’s win in a celebratory tweet that claimed he had been down by double-digits despite the race having polled as much closer throughout the campaign.
“Tonight is a victory shared by all who believe in the promise of America; in the promise of American exceptionalism and the promise of freedom and opportunity,” Bishop told supporters after it became clear he had won.
He also put Trump on speakerphone to address the crowd. The president said the “fake news” media had written Bishop off but that he “handled pressure like the greatest athletes can handle pressure.”
“This was never a campaign about partisanship,” McCready told his supporters in a concession speech. “This was always a campaign about values. We may not have won this campaign but that does not mean we were wrong.”