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Dan Bishop Cruises To Victory In 9th District GOP Primary

Steve Harrison / WFAE
Mecklenburg State Sen. Dan Bishop easily won the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District Tuesday, setting up a September general election fight against Democrat Dan McCready.

Mecklenburg State Sen. Dan Bishop easily won the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District Tuesday, setting up a September general election fight against Democrat Dan McCready.

Bishop’s victory was dominant.

He won all eight counties in the 9th District, including Union County, the home of county commissioner and second-place finisher Stony Rushing. And with almost all precincts reporting, Bishop had nearly 48 percent of the vote – easily clearing the 30 percent needed to avoid a run-off.

Rushing finished with 19 percent.

In his speech at his SouthPark victory party, Bishop tried to tie McCready to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

"And today at the polls it was no different. People are astonished, and amazed and dismayed, at what they see coming out of Washington D.C. from liberal crazy clowns," Bishop said.

Bishop then listed what he sees are the Democratic Party’s agenda:

"Socialism. Open Borders. Infanticide. 90 percent tax rates. Having prison members vote. It’s something new, every day, every week."

Bishop promised his audience that he would make McCready take positions on current issues in Congress.

"And wrong Dan McCready went through two elections without telling anyone where he stood on anything. That ends tomorrow."

Bishop praised the Republican field, and listed several candidates by name, including Rushing, former Mecklenburg commissioner Ridenhour, Fern Shubert of Marshville and Stevie Rivenbark of Fayetteville.

He did not mention Leigh Brown, a Cabarrus County realtor who received $1.3 million from the political action committee of the National Realtors Association, where she had been fundraising chair. In forums, Bishop often criticized Brown for receiving so much money from what he called a special interest group. Brown finished fourth.

The state Board of Elections ordered a new primary and general election after it found evidence of absentee mail ballot fraud committed on behalf of last year’s Republican candidate, Mark Harris.

Harris endorsed Rushing, who adamantly defended Harris during the campaign.

Mark is a brother in Christ, and a good friend. But let’s be honest, I think there is some Harris fatigue," said Dan Barry, the former chair of the Union County Republican Party.

He said he doesn’t think Harris’ endorsement helped Rushing.

"You know let’s be honest. Guilt or innocence is determined by somebody else. Mark Harris and beth were tried in the court of public opinion. They were led story in the news for 90 days, and it didn’t stop."

Barry says Republicans coalesced around Bishop because of his experience in the General Assembly.

He said Bishop has been "a staunch voice for the conservatives in North Carolina. He has stood in the breach. He has stared down the radical left coming out of California with the Human Rights Campaign. Dan is the right guy to take on Dan McCready."

He was referring to Bishop co-sponsoring HB2, the 2016 law that overturned Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance and required people to use the bathroom that matched the biological sex in bathrooms in government buildings.

McCready sent a fundraising e-mail Tuesday night reminding supporters that Bishop sponsored the “bathroom bill.” He also said Bishop would “destroy jobs, keep medication unaffordable and undermine public school teachers.”

Meanwhile, McCready has at least $1.6 million in campaign funds to spend over the next four months,

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.