Republican Dan Bishop defeated Democrat Dan McCready yesterday in a special election to determine who will represent North Carolina’s Ninth District in Congress. The margin was 51-49.
On election eve, President Trump held a rally in the district to promote Bishop. It’s possible that Trump’s visit put Bishop over the top.
The district is one that Trump carried by 12 points against Hillary Clinton. It has elected Republicans to Congress for as long as just about anyone can remember.
Accordingly, the mainstream media is portraying yesterday’s result as worrisome for the GOP in general and for Trump in particular. This article in Politico is a good example.
There may be something to Politico’s take. However, it overlooks the fact that Dan McCreary, the Democrat who almost won, is a young ex-Marine who ran as a centrist who would bring people together.
Before drawing lessons from yesterday about the 2020 presidential election, we should calculate the likelihood that the Democrats will nominate someone like McCreary to run against President Trump. I calculate it to be exactly nil.
The Democrats will not nominate an ex-Marine. They will not nominate someone young and attractive. They will not nominate a centrist. Unless they nominate Joe Biden, they will not nominate anyone who can pose as a centrist or who can claim, with a straight face, that he or she will bring people together.
Meanwhile, there was also a special election yesterday in North Carolina’s Third District. There, the Republican, a state legislator named Greg Murphy, defeated his Democratic opponent, a former mayor, by 24 points. According to FiveThirtyEight, this is the expected margin by which a Republican defeats a Democrat in this district.
All in all, I find it difficult to see yesterday’s North Carolina results as good news for Democrats except to the extent that Dems are willing to nominate attractive centrists.