NC Special Election Tests Trump, 2020 GOP Prospects

Sep 9, 2019

Updated Sept. 10 at 8:50  a.m.

President Trump held a rally in Fayetteville last night to give a last-minute boost to Dan Bishop -- the Republican candidate in today's 9th Congressional District special election.

In his rallies, the president often gives short shrift to other politicians he’s supposed to be stumping for. Not this time.
 
“Tomorrow, right here in the great state of North Carolina with your support… we take the first steps to firing Speaker Pelosi and winning back the House in 2020,” Trump said.
 
The special election was called after fraud allegations led the state Board of Elections to invalidate the results of the race last fall. Bishop is running against Democrat Dan McCready in what polls suggest is a tight race. Today’s vote is seen as a measure of Trump’s political clout ahead of the 2020 national races — including his own.

And not only did he stay on message, Trump brought along a host of reinforcements, including Vice President Mike Pence, his son Donald Trump Jr., and political allies including Senator Lindsey Graham and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Trump did roam through a long list of his favorite topics, including the border wall and getting rid of sanctuary cities. And among other charges about Democrats, he said they aren’t big believers in religion. But he looped back to connect his themes to Bishop.

Many in the audience, though, were more interested in vintage Trump themes than the election.

William Pierce, who came with his wife, Lori, from St. Pauls said he mostly came to hear Trump talk about closing the border and bringing manufacturing back to the United States.
 
“I think we had five textile plants in St. Pauls and now we got none,” William Pierce said.

“You had two Burlington Mills,” Lori Pierce said.
 
“Lane and Howell, Manning Fabrics,” her husband added.
 
Trump’s visit came just days after Hurricane Dorian brushed Coastal North Carolina, doing serious damage on some of the barrier islands.

The president had been expected to visit Emerald Isle by helicopter, but a storm forced cancellation of the flight.

Instead, he got a briefing on storm damage from Governor Roy Cooper aboard Air Force One on the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point before the rally.