State Sen. Dan Bishop prevailed in Tuesday’s Republican primary race to fill North Carolina’s 9th District congressional seat, with 48% of the vote. The results of the previous election during the 2018 midterms had been tossed out following an alleged ballot tampering scandal involving Republican operatives.
Previous Republican candidate Mark Harris, whose campaign was responsible for the election fraud, opted not to participate in the new election, citing vague “health concerns.” He had endorsed one of Bishop’s opponents, Stony Rushing, but Rushing only garnered 20% of the vote. Bishop won by a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff and proceed to the general election against Democrat Dan McCready.
Though candidates raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the race, turnout was very low, with only 10% of voters in the district participating in the primary.
Bishop is perhaps best known as being one of the original authors of HB2, North Carolina’s 2016 law that targeted transgender people for discrimination by prohibiting them from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity. “What we did was restore common sense, and we did it on a statewide basis,” he said at the time to defend the bill.
Backlash to HB2 cost North Carolina $3.76 billion in lost business, and significant aspects of the law were repealed a year later.
Though Bishop has tried to downplay HB2 as a thing of the past, he nevertheless leaned into his own extremist positions for this campaign. In March, he published a 90-second ad called “Crazies” that attacked prominent Democrats in Congress, seemingly for such radical positions as opposing racism, opposing mass shootings, and opposing caging children.
Bishop was also an early investor in Gab, the social media platform favored by far-right extremists and white nationalists, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter. When he was called out for that investment last fall, Bishop claimed that if Gab “allows its users to promote violence, anti-Semitism and racism on its platform they certainly have misled investors.” Gab’s reputation, however, preceded his investment.
Bishop faces McCready in the general election on September 10.