WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - From Charlotte to Fayetteville, and down to the South Carolina border, about 750,000 North Carolinians get their voice back in Congress.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) officially takes his seat in Congress, after fresh election partially resolves the election fraud scandal that has hung over the district since Nov. 2018 (Source: Gray DC).
The seat for the state’s ninth district sat empty for 256 days, longer than any other time in its history. That streak came to an end Tuesday night when Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) took the oath of office.
“I’m eager to get to it,” he said, “but I’m humbled by the responsibility.”
The Republican said his first priority is finding solutions for constituents who call-in to the office with real-world problems.
His policy goals will become clearer when he lands on a committee, where lawmakers get into the knitty-gritty of topics ranging from transportation to the environment. “I’m prepared to contribute, when the opportunity arises I’ll be ready,” said Bishop.
The seat almost went to 2018’s Republican candidate Mark Harris. But, the state elections board refused to send him to D.C. after evidence of election fraud came to light.
We asked George Washington University Political Science professor Gary Nordlinger if Tuesday’s swearing-in helps clear the dark cloud hanging over the district. “Oh yeah, oh yeah,” he said, “[the first election] was a mess.”
He said the President’s North Carolina visit last week likely helped Bishop win. But, the professor argues Bishop’s election isn’t all good news for his party and its chances nationally in 2020; two percent isn’t a large margin of victory in a reliably red district.
“That is an alarmingly close election for the Republicans,” he said.
While some look ahead to 2020, the drama from the first race in 2018 continues to unfold. For Bishop though, and this election, it’s quick turnaround. One week after he won the special election, he has resigned from his seat in the North Carolina legislature, and he’s busy making his new office his own.
Bishop joins Congress almost half-way through its term, and said he’ll get straight to work – though he’s not sure yet where his voice will have the greatest impact.
"The game will come to you," he said of determining where he can do the most good for his district, "it was true in Raleigh, I believe it will be true here.”
The campaigns to win this seat spanned 27 months. And, they’ll likely start again soon. Candidates who want a shot in 2020 have to file their paperwork by December 20th of this year.
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