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Trump tests Dixie appeal as he stumps for Republican locked in tight North Carolina special election fight

2019-09-10

President Trump went down to Dixie again in hopes of salvaging a North Carolina Congressional seat where a GOP candidate is locked in a tight special election battle.

Trump rallied a #MAGA crowd of thousands in Fayetteville Monday hours before polls opened Tuesday in the Ninth Congressional district race that is shaping up as a referendum on the president’s tumultuous first term.

Beautiful evening in Fayetteville tonight! Big day in North Carolina tomorrow. Make sure you get out and VOTE for Dan Bishop in #NC09 and Greg Murphy in #NC03! pic.twitter.com/bu296fHQab

Republican Dan Bishop is locked in a tight battle with Democrat Dan McCready in what should be a solidly red district stretching east from the Charlotte suburbs through a swath of rural central North Carolina.

Trump risked accusations of misusing the presidential office for partisan political purposes when he tweeted a photo of himself making a campaign pitch for Bishop on Air Force One in front of the presidential seal.

Speaking to Governor @HenryMcMaster of South Carolina on my way to North Carolina for a big rally for Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) running for Congress. Vote tomorrow! #NC09 pic.twitter.com/KmrDd9JPOh

He faced similar complaints when he used the seal in a video mocking Mayor Bill de Blasio on the day Hizzoner launched his longshot presidential bid.

The North Carolina special election was ordered after Republican voter fraud marred the 2018 win of a previous GOP candidate over McCready by a scant 900-margin.

If McCready can pull off a win Tuesday it would mean Democrat would increase their haul of seats to 41 in the midterms #BlueWave landslide.

A Democratic win or even a razor-thin GOP victory would also be yet another grim data point for Trump as he faces voters in 2020.

The Ninth District is rated a +12 GOP seat meaning it should be a cakewalk for Bishop. But Trump has energized Democrats and turned off independent voters even in deeply conservative areas. That political environment is toxic for Republicans as the midterms showed.

Vice President Mike Pence has also stumped for Bishop in an effort to boost turnout among his evangelical Christian base.