(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Republicans won a vacant North Carolina House seat in a special election on Tuesday. But that victory was expected, and all eyes were on another House race in the state that could provide clues about President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects and Republican chances of retaking the House in 2020.
Physician Greg Murphy defeated Democrat Allen Thomas in a district along the state’s Atlantic coast and will succeed the late GOP Rep. Walter Jones Jr., who died in February after 24 years in Congress. Trump won the district comfortably in 2016.
“One down, one to go – Greg Murphy is projected to win in the Great State of North Carolina! #NC03,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night.
In the night’s more compelling race, Republican Dan Bishop, a conservative state senator, was hoping visits to the GOP-leaning district Monday by Trump and Vice President Mike Pence would boost him to victory. At a rally in a Fayetteville arena, Trump told a MAGA-hat-wearing crowd that backing Bishop would send a message to “the America-hating left.”
Bishop’s conservative credentials include authorship of the state’s 2016 law that dictated which public bathrooms transgender people could use. The law was repealed after it prompted a national outcry and boycotts that The Associated Press estimated cost North Carolina $3.7 billion.
Centrist Democrat Dan McCready, a former