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After Dan Bishop was at the center of the debt ceiling fight, what's his next move?

Rep. Dan Bishop at a podium.
David Boraks
Rep. Dan Bishop speaks during a Republican 9th Congressional District forum in 2019.

In January, North Carolina Republican Rep. Dan Bishop of Waxhaw helped delay Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bishop, formerly of Charlotte, wasn’t one of the final holdouts. He agreed to support McCarthy (R-Calif.) on the 12th ballot. It took McCarthy 15 tries to win.

Bishop’s recalcitrance then is nothing compared to last week, however, when he unloaded on McCarthy’s handling of the debt ceiling negotiations.

He said he would consider an attempt to oust McCarthy as speaker.

And he used the “L” word — saying McCarthy was lying about the bill.

 Dan Bishop speaks to reporters; CNN screengrab
Dan Bishop speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol during the debt ceiling fight.

Bishop’s Twitter feed chronicles his various taunts of the House Speaker, calling it a “debt deal disaster, asserting that “McCarthy got rolled, and finally mocking McCarthy’s strength as a negotiator.

That was a reference to a Politico story detailing how McCarthy took fellow North Carolinian Patrick McHenry to a Chipotle in the Navy Yard to discuss negotiations. It said McCarthy immediately left when he learned the restaurant had no chips.

That prompted Bishop to say that McCarthy had negotiated a stronger deal with Chipotle.

(Since entering Congress in 2019, Bishop had previously voted against two bills in 2021 to raise the debt ceiling.)

Bishop is in a safe Republican district outside of Charlotte, covering many of the city’s more conservative suburbs and outlying areas. He can probably be reelected to Congress and serve as long as he wants.

But he has also been rumored to be weighing a run for North Carolina attorney general. His consideration for that job has frozen the rest of the GOP field. (The same is true on the Democratic side, where Charlotte Rep. Jeff Jackson could run to replace Attorney General Josh Stein, who is running for governor. That’s assuming the General Assembly erases Jackson’s safe Democratic seat when drawing new maps this summer.)

Does the debt ceiling defeat make Bishop more likely to run for statewide office, due to his disillusionment over what he calls a “uniparty cartel” that “sells out the American people”?

Or is the circus in Washington too much fun to miss?

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When asked whether last week has made him more or less likely to run for attorney general, Bishop replied cryptically: “It’s an interesting conundrum, isn’t it?”

For the record, 12 of 14 members of North Carolina’s House delegation voted for the debt ceiling increase, including six of seven Republicans.

Democrat Deborah Ross had COVID-19 and didn’t vote, although she said she would have been a yes.

Republican North Carolina Sen. Ted Budd voted against the bill. The state’s othersenator, Republican Thom Tillis, voted yes.

NC mail ballot window — likely to close on Election Day

North Carolina media last week reported that legislative Republicans were working behind closed doors to craft a wide-ranging elections bill.

They filed it on Thursday.

The biggest change is that Election Day would become the final day for absentee by-mail ballots to be counted.

The current window allows mail ballots to be counted if they’re postmarked by Election Day and arrive three days later. That window was created in 2009, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

The GOP said requiring the mail ballots to arrive on Election Day aligns North Carolina with the majority of states.

There are several other smaller tweaks. The biggest, perhaps, is that voters who use same-day registration at an early voting site will be required to cast a provisional ballot. Those ballots will only be accepted if the voter’s address can be verified before polls close on Election Day.

Photo ID for voting is coming. Up first: Charlotte

In April, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the 2018 law implementing photo identification as a requirement to vote.

After years of litigation, the issue appears to be over.

The first test for the new requirement will be Sept. 12, when the city of Charlotte holds party primaries for mayor and City Council. (Sanford is also holding elections that day).

Mecklenburg Elections Director Michael Dickerson said he’s waiting for final guidance from the state before training his poll workers. He also said he hopes to begin offering state-approved voter photo ID cards for people, so long as they provide their name, date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number.

The full list of acceptable IDs is here. Voters can also get a photo ID card at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

People who come to the polls without an approved photo ID can still cast a provisional ballot, though they must show the county board of elections their ID before the official canvass in order for the ballot to count.

There are also instances in which a vote will be counted without a photo ID, such as the person was a victim of a natural disaster within 100 days of the election. More information about that is here.

This will not be the first time North Carolinians have had to show a photo ID to vote. It was a requirement in the 2016 primary — but the requirement was blocked in the courts after that.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.
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