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Why the GOP victory in North Carolina spells disaster for Democrats in 2020
Republicans had a unified message with a unified focus, NRCC chairman writes

Republican Dan Bishop’s victory in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District confirms the effectiveness of President Donald Trump as a GOP surrogate and the unpopularity of the Democrats’ socialist agenda, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Republicans’ special election victory Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th District is the latest evidence that 2020 will be a very different election from 2018.

Rep.-elect Dan Bishop didn’t just overcome his Democrat opponent’s two-year head start and millions of dollars in out-of-state money. He also outperformed the GOP candidate’s 2018 efforts by 2 points — quite a different narrative from what the cable news pundits want voters to believe and great news for Republican prospects next year.

North Carolina’s 9th District highlights trouble spots for both parties
McCready’s strength in Mecklenburg County underscores GOP’s suburban weakness

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop won the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Within eight minutes of each other Wednesday morning, the two House campaign committees blasted out dueling memos about what Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s 2-point victory in North Carolina’s 9th District means for the country’s political future.

The posturing was typical of reactions to special elections in the era of President Donald Trump. Publicly, at least, Republicans say everything is fine, while Democrats celebrate a narrow loss in a district that shouldn’t have been competitive. 

Republicans hold on to North Carolina’s 9th District in redo election
Outside GOP groups spent more than $6 million to boost nominee Dan Bishop

GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop won the redo election in North Carolina’s 9th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have narrowly held on to a North Carolina district that President Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016. It’s a relief for a party already in the minority but not enough to ease GOP fears about slippage in the suburbs. 

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop led Democrat Dan McCready 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race. 

Republican Greg Murphy wins special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District
State lawmaker succeeds the late Rep. Walter B. Jones

Republican Greg Murphy is the next congressman from North Carolina’s 3rd District (Courtesy North Carolina General Assembly)

Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy has won the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd District, succeeding the late GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones and likely becoming the next member of the House Freedom Caucus.

With 44 percent of precincts reporting, Murphy led Democrat Allen Thomas 59 percent to 40 percent when The Associated Press called the race. Murphy, who won a primary runoff in July, was largely expected to win this seat left open by Jones’ death in February. Jones won a 13th term without opposition last fall, and President Donald Trump carried the seat by 23 points in 2016.

GOP leadership lowers expectations for North Carolina special election
Republican House Whip Steve Scalise calls the NC-09 a ‘swing district’

State Sen. Dan Bishop is running for North Carolina’s 9th District seat, which Republican leaders are now calling a “swing district.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican leadership lowered expectations for the outcome in Tuesday’s North Carolina’s 9th District special election, calling it a “swing district.”

President Donald Trump carried this district by 12 points in 2016, but Republican outside groups have spent more than $6 million on the race, which Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Toss-up.

Despite pressure, still no gun legislation position from White House
Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill intend to keep up pressure

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley were among the participants at a news conference in the Capitol to call on the Senate to vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats intend to keep pressuring President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to support bipartisan efforts to close what they see as loopholes in background checks for gun purchases.

But a meeting Monday between White House officials and leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors left little room for optimism.

Can Republicans hold on to a North Carolina Trump district on Tuesday?
Outside GOP groups have spent more than $6 million boosting Republican nominee

GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop, right, rides in the back of a truck while canvassing in Parkton, N.C., last month with David Buzzard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It may not be 2020 yet, but in North Carolina — which is holding two House contests Tuesday — it might as well be an election year already. 

As the Democratic presidential circus continues to steal national headlines, voters are going to the polls for special elections in two longtime Republican districts — one because election fraud invalidated last year’s result and the other because the sitting congressman died. 

GOP poll finds close race for Democratic seat in Houston suburbs
Republican Wesley Hunt led Rep. Lizzie Fletcher by 2 points, survey found

Texas Republican Wesley Hunt is challenging Rep. Lizzie Fletcher in the Houston-area 7th District. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Lizzie Fletcher could be in for a tough reelection fight in 2020, according to a new Republican poll released Thursday. The survey gave GOP challenger Wesley Hunt, a former Army captain, a 2-point lead over the freshman Democrat in the Houston-area 7th District.

House Judiciary panel to dive into gun debate upon return
Background checks, assault weapons ban, ‘red flag’ laws and more could be on the table

People hold candles at the end of the prayer vigil in Odessa, Texas, for victims of a mass shooting there Saturday in which seven people were killed. (Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)

The House Judiciary Committee will meet next week to jump-start legislation addressing firearm ownership, an issue that has languished before Congress for more than two decades but faces new urgency in the wake of recent mass shootings that rattled the country.

Supporters of the legislation have scrambled over the summer recess to cobble together support and advance various proposals before the political will withers after recent shootings in Gilroy, California; Dayton, Ohio; and El Paso, Texas. A rampage in the West Texas community of Odessa over Labor Day weekend added to the concern. House Democrats have struggled with how far to push in the face of a GOP-controlled Senate and White House.

Iowa’s Joni Ernst preps for ‘full throttle’ Senate race
With Trump on ballot, candidates from both parties walk a fine line in historic swing state

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst talks with fairgoers at the Iowa Pork Producers Association tent at the state fair in Des Moines earlier this month. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

PARKERSBURG, Iowa — In the span of 10 minutes, Sen. Joni Ernst was confronted with her reelection dilemma.

At a town hall meeting at Aplington-Parkersburg High School earlier this month, a woman stood up and encouraged the Iowa Republican to support President Donald Trump in his ongoing trade dispute with China. Less than 10 minutes later, another woman said she was ashamed of Trump’s immigration policies, and called on the senator to speak out.