Republican candidates swept two special elections for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina on Tuesday, making them 3-for-3 in 2019.
In North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, Republican State Representative Greg Murphy trounced former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, a Democrat. With 100% of the 113,607 votes cast and counted, Mr. Murphy carried the district 61.7% to 37.5%.
The seat was left vacant when Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. died in February. The district covers much of the state’s coastline and includes Morehead City in Carteret County (67.5% to 31.8%), and New Bern in Craven County (59.3% to 39.7%).
It leans strongly Republican.
But all eyes were on North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District, where polls showed a close race between Republican State Senator Dan Bishop and Marine Corps veteran Dan McCready, a Democrat.
With 100% of the 189,363 votes cast and counted, Mr. Bishop defeated Mr. McCready, 50.7% to 48.7%.
|✓ Dan Bishop||Republican||96,081||50.7%|
189,363 votes, 100% reporting (210 of 210 precincts)
In 2018, Mr. McCready carried all but Union County and Bladen County, though still came up short against Republican Mark Harris. But state officials ordered another election after it was revealed the Harris campaign paid for an illegal absentee ballot operation.
Mr. McCready could not repeat the magic in 2018, when Democrats enjoyed the historical out-of-party first term midterm favor. Richmond County and Cumberland County both returned to support the Republican.
Still, President Donald Trump won the district by more than 10 points and Democrats are pointing to the closeness of the race as a positive sign going into 2020.
However, Mr. McCready ran a two-year campaign that vastly outspent his opponent and distanced himself from both his party leaders and 2020 presidential hopefuls. A far-lesser known Mr. Bishop had just 6 months and was only financially competitive in the final few weeks.
Republicans are now 3-for-3 in special elections held in 2019.
Previously, Republican Fred Keller defeated his Democratic opponent in Pennsylvania’s Twelfth Congressional District by 36 points. It was nearly the exact same margin Donald Trump carried the district by in 2016.