Tuesday, 14 May 2019 22:39

Bishop wins 9th District Republican Primary

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ROCKINGHAM ― State Sen. Dan Bishop will be the Republican candidate in the 9th Congressional District redo election.

Bishop, of Charlotte, won the Republican primary on Tuesday with a little more than 47 percent of the vote, according to unofficial numbers from the N.C. State Board of Elections. (There was still one precinct in Bladen County that hadn't reported at the time of this story.)

“We started this race at 11 percent, in a distant second place,” Bishop said in a Facebook post. “So many of you worked so hard to make this victory possible. I'm beyond grateful. Thank you!”

Bishop, who was recently re-elected to the state Senate, was a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners from 2004-2008, then took a few years off before running for the N.C. House of Representatives in 2014, winning the seat for the 104th District.

State Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin, a native of the 9th Congressional District (from Hamlet), was quick to issue a statement criticizing Bishop.

“From authoring HB2 to investing in a hate-speech fueled social media platform to attacking the free press, Dan Bishop is defined by his attempts to legislate and disseminate discrimination,” Goodwin said in a statement, with one Bladen County precinct yet to report. “Republicans’ top choice for a seat they attempted to steal is a second-rate candidate who has repeatedly embarrassed our state and who will be dogged not only by his efforts to legislate hate but his party’s rampant corruption.”

Bishop’s chances were looking good early on with 41.71 percent of the vote in the pre-primary numbers.

With all the Richmond County precincts, one-stop and absentee ballots, he won with 637 votes. 

Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing was a distant second with 115 and Ridenhour was third with 60.

He only needed 30 percent of the vote to prevent a second primary.

According to the N.C. State Board of Elections, the 9th Congressional District includes 155,923 registered Republicans and 157,393 registered unaffiliated voters (total 313,316) who were eligible to vote in the Republican primary.

There were 13,030 voters eligible to cast ballots in this primary: 5,657 Republicans and 7,395 who are unaffiliated.

Richmond County had the fourth-highest number to take advantage of one-stop early voting, held at the Cooperative Extension office, with 401. Mecklenburg was the highest (4250), followed by Union (3133) and Bladen (1,066). 

There were only two accepted mail-in ballots returned.

Kelly said Bladen’s turnout was so high because of a local race combined with the primary.

She was also surprised at the low turnout in Cumberland County since its chunk of the district has about the same population as all of Richmond. 

Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and all precincts had reported totals by 7:51.

Rockingham No. 2 was the precinct with the highest turnout with 97 ballots cast. The lowest was in Wolf Pit No. 2 with only three the entire day.

In Beaver Dam No. 2, all 26 votes went to Bishop.

The races was closest in Scotland County with Rushing garnering 40.9 percent of the vote to Bishop’s 43.68.

Other candidates in the race were Stevie Rivenbark Hull, Matthew Ridenhour, Fern Shubert, Albert Lee Wiley Jr., Chris Anglin, Leigh Thomas Brown, Kathie C. Day and Gary Dunn.

Of the 10 candidates, half are from outside the district, which includes Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson and Union counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Bladen and Cumberland counties.

Canvassing will be at 11 a.m. May 24.

Bishop will go on to face Democrat Dan McCready, Libertarian Jeff Scott and Green Party candidate Allen Smith, all of Charlotte on Sept. 10.

McCready and Scott both were in the original election last November with Republican Mark Harris.

A special election was called following an evidentiary hearing by the N.C. State Board of Elections regarding allegations election fraud in Bladen County by Leslie McCrae Dowless, who was hired by the Harris campaign.

Dowless and several others are facing criminal charges.

The seat has been vacant for more than five months since former Rep. Robert Pittenger, who lost last year’s Republican primary to Harris, left office. Congress was sworn in Jan. 3.