What a close Republican win in a North Carolina House race means (maybe) for 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state’s 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming lack of official party interest, Vice President Mike Pence also managed a North Carolina campaign trip the same day.

It paid off Tuesday, as Election Day turnout gave Bishop a 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready. Bishop certainly credited Trump — the president, of course, took all of it — who helped the candidate overcome scandal over the race and his own controversial support of a “bathroom bill” that hurt business in the state. The newly elected congressman portrayed himself as Trump’s “mini-me” on every issue, from guns to abortion rights to immigration.

True, it was only one seat and one election, albeit one that has been going on for what seems like decades, and it was in a district Trump won by 12 points in 2016 and where Democrats have not had success since the early 1960s. So you could characterize Trump’s visit as a rescue mission. But a win is a win. On second thought, though, is it?

North Carolina’s Republican Party is having an identity crisis

OPINION — All eyes with be on North Carolina next year, when the Republican Party holds its 2020 convention in Charlotte to nominate President Donald Trump for a second term. In truth, though, the state has been the center of attention for a while because of actions of party members — and the gaze has not been kind.

Artur Davis – Democrat turned GOP stalwart – has a plan for Republicans

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On the announcement, his picture was squeezed between images of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, former presidents the GOP can get behind. Artur Davis was in North Carolina, where Republicans rule in the state house and legislature. It’s a place where the party that is suffering setbacks elsewhere could relax for a triumphant evening. At least, that’s what I think the folks at the 2013 MeckGOP Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner were doing Saturday night. Luckily, before the closed-press event, featured speaker Davis previewed his remarks and why his inclusive message matters to the GOP’s future.

“I think the conservatives have to understand that we’ve got to talk about not just the government we want to repeal but how we’re going to make the government that exists work better,” Davis told me. As the parties spar over sequester, appointments and more, it seemed a timely message.