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Last night, Republican Dan Bishop narrowly bested Democrat Dan McCready in a special election in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.
Now all anyone can talk about is that Donald Trump secured Bishop’s win by stumping for him in Fayetteville the night before the election. Even Dan Bishop. This morning the congressman-elect told CNN, “We were far behind. We were making progress, but the President and Vice President (Mike) Pence coming in, I think, it put us over the top.”
Trump, of course, agrees.
Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race. Big Rally last night. Now it looks like he is going to win. @CNN & @MSNBC are moving their big studio equipment and talent out. Stay tuned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
The president isn’t the only one patting himself on the back for securing a place in Congress for the bathroom bill guy who campaigned on his support for the border wall, mutual admiration for the NRA, voter ID laws, and Republicans’ favorite red herring issue of late: the fictitious practice of “infanticide and late-term abortion on demand.”
“When the North Carolina GOP margin jumps from 905 votes in 2018 to over 4100 votes yesterday President Trump and House GOP leader McCarthy can feel it is a real victory for the GOP and the Trump election eve rally and a real loss for Pelosi,” Newt Gingrich tweeted. ”
Massive wins for @realDonaldTrump tonight!!!” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) gushed.
Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed that his boss “made a personal difference in NC and lent his entire operation to the team effort.” New York Times’ White House correspondent Annie Karni tweeted that Parscale also told reporters, “The message is clear, President Trump won these races and remains undefeated in special elections.”
“The day before the election, @realDonaldTrump campaigned for Dan Bishop in a county that went BLUE in 2018. On election night, it flipped RED. Between the enthusiasm for the president and the @GOP investments on the ground, we have the momentum going into 2020!” GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted.
McDaniels is not accurate in her tweet there. The county didn’t go “BLUE” in 2018. The results for the district were thrown out due to rampant voter fraud issues. The special election was only called based on evidence of widespread fraud by a consultant for Republican candidate Mark Harris in last November’s vote.
McDaniel also neglected to mention that Trump won the district by 12 points in 2016; Bishop barely squeaked out a majority. In Cumberland County, where Fayetteville is located, he bested McCready by just 0.3%. She also didn’t note that turnout in Cumberland County was particularly abysmal: 7%.
Nor have Bishop and company rushed to credit Thomas Hofeller, the now-deceased GOP master of the dark art of gerrymandering. Last week, a North Carolina court threw out the state’s political maps, finding they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to guarantee Republican majorities in a state with nearly a half-million more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Why let facts get in the way of a victory dance?
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.