WASHINGTON -- With the Republican drama in North Carolina's 3rd District special primary runoff now settled, attention in the Tar Heel State shifts to the more competitive of the two House special elections to be held Sept. 10.
Voters in North Carolina's 9th District will choose a new representative in a redo election of last fall's contest, which was never certified because of ballot fraud connected to the Republican candidate's campaign.
Democrat Dan McCready, who trailed Republican Mark Harris narrowly at the end of last fall's voting, announced Wednesday he raised more than $1.7 million during the three months ending June 30. He has $1.8 million in the bank, according to his campaign. His official fundraising report has not yet been filed with the Federal Election Commission.
McCready is up against a new GOP challenger. State Sen. Dan Bishop won a 10-way primary outright earlier this year, easily clearing the 30% threshold to avoid a runoff. Bishop has not yet announced his fundraising total, but had $184,000 in his account on April 24.
McCready had the advantage of not facing a primary. He's been fundraising nonstop since last fall. A solar energy financier and Marine veteran, McCready has been regarded as a strong recruit in this Charlotte-area district, which President Donald Trump carried by 12 points in 2016. He earned a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red to Blue list for competitive challengers last cycle, and he's once again running with the support of End Citizens United and VoteVets.
Trump is coming to North Carolina next week, although he's not going to the 9th District. He'll hold a rally in Greenville, which is in the solidly red 3rd District. GOP voters there on Tuesday nominated state Rep. Greg Murphy as the GOP nominee to replace the late Walter B. Jones, who died in February. Murphy, who ran with the backing of the political arm of the House Freedom Caucus, easily defeated pediatrician Joan Perry, who had the support of all 13 GOP women in Congress. Murphy will face Democrat Allen Thomas in the race.
In the 9th District, McCready was seeking to build on his fundraising total Tuesday with an appeal asking supporters to split a $3 donation between his campaign and that of Marine veteran Amy McGrath, who announced her Senate campaign in Kentucky.
"Amy and I got to know each other campaigning for our House seats in 2018," McCready wrote in the email, which was a way to tap into grassroots donor enthusiasm for defeating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McGrath's campaign later announced it raised more than $2.5 million within 24 hours of her announcement.
But tying McCready to Democrats outside North Carolina is exactly how Bishop's campaign is hoping to keep this seat in Republican hands. Bishop's ad slams McCready as "the wrong Dan," and shows a cardboard cutout of McCready with cutouts of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In the wake of Tom Steyer's presidential announcement Tuesday, Bishop's campaign tried to tie McCready to the billionaire activist who has been pushing for President Donald Trump's impeachment and aggressive action against climate change. Steyer donated to McCready's campaign last year.