RALEIGH, N.C. -- State Sen. Dan Bishop won in Tuesday's 9th District Republican primary, three months after North Carolina officials took the unprecedented step of throwing out an election marred by fraud allegations.
Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready in what's expected to be the nation's most closely watched special election. The general election will be Sept. 10.
With 82 percent of votes in, Bishop led Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing 48 percent to 20 percent. They were the top vote-getters among 10 Republicans running to oppose McCready and two third-party candidates.
Bishop was leading in all of the district's eight counties, including Rushing's home of Union.
Turnout was low. Based on the early vote, one analyst predicted only about 10 percent of voters would turn out even in what's expected to be the nation's highest-profile special congressional election of the year.
State election officials called the special election after allegations of absentee election fraud marred the results of the 2018 election between McCready and Republican Mark Harris. Five people have been arrested on charges relating to the fraud.
The GOP primary drew more than $1.4 million in spending by outside groups. About $1.3 million of that came from the National Realtors Association political action committee in support of Leigh Brown, a Cabarrus County Realtor and the PAC's former fundraising chair.
The political arm of the anti-tax Club for Growth, meanwhile, spent more than $138,000 against Brown and Rushing. A spokesman said the group also "bundled" more than $84,000 in contributions for Bishop.
A poll in the National Journal's Hotline this month showed Bishop with 31 percent, followed by Rushing at 17 percent and former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour at 9 percent. Brown was fourth with 6 percent. No one else had more than 5 percent.
Bishop raised more than any other candidate, $572,000. That was twice as much as Brown and seven times as much as any other candidate.