Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal, and written by Rick Henderson.
Republicans held serve. Let the 2020 election campaign begin.
In special elections for two U.S. House districts Tuesday, Sept. 10, state Rep. Greg Murphy of Pitt County and state Sen. Dan Bishop of Mecklenburg County held off Democratic challengers to win seats unofficially in the 3rd and 9th U.S. Congressional Districts, respectively.
The 9th District race drew national attention. Democratic businessman Dan McCready trailed Republican minister Mark Harris by 905 votes on election day 2018. But voting irregularities caused by illegal ballot harvesting on Harris' behalf led to the State Board of Elections voiding the results and calling a new election.
Harris declined to run. McCready faced off against Bishop and two minor-party candidates. Though McCready essentially had run for the seat nonstop for more than two years, he didn't prevail in the district, which has been represented by Republicans since 1963.
With 208 of 210 precincts reporting, Bishop held a 4,100-vote, 1.2% lead over McCready.
In the 3rd District, Murphy easily prevailed over former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, a Democrat, and two minor-party candidates. At 10:30 p.m., Murphy held a 24-point lead.
The 3rd District seat became vacant when Rep. Walter Jones Jr., a Republican, died in late December. Jones served in the House for nearly a quarter-century.
Both newly elected representatives are expected to run next year to seek full terms in Congress.