On Wednesday, Dan Bishop (R) and Dan McCready (D) met in their first and only debate of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District special election, which takes place Sept. 10. The candidates began the debate by addressing criticisms from their opponent and opposition ads from satellite groups before moving on to discuss healthcare, immigration, and other policy areas.
Some highlights from the event:
Addressing criticisms: Ads from satellite groups have criticized McCready’s business practices as a solar energy investor; satellite groups and McCready’s campaign have released opposition ads focusing on Bishop’s vote in the state Senate against a bill allowing doctors to discuss lower-cost prescription drugs with patients. Both candidates defended their records at the debate. Bishop stated that he voted to approve a similar bill but did not have time to read the version of the bill in question. McCready said his business practices were ethical.
On healthcare: Bishop discussed his support of association health plans and repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), calling for market-based innovations to lower healthcare costs. McCready emphasized his prescription drug plan and his support of Medicaid expansion in the state under the ACA.
On immigration: Bishop criticized some North Carolina sheriffs for not following detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and said he supports the border wall Trump has called for. McCready called for comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform and said he supports securing borders while opposing a wall.
President Donald Trump (R), Vice President Mike Pence (R), and former Vice President Joe Biden (D) have weighed in on the special election. Trump endorsed Bishop in May. Bishop spoke at a Trump rally and Pence appeared at a fundraiser for Bishop in July. Trump is planning to campaign for Bishop in North Carolina again on September 9. Joe Biden endorsed McCready on Wednesday.
The special election has seen $8 million in ad spending from satellite groups, including $2.6 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and $1.2 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Bishop, McCready, Jeff Scott (L), and Allen Smith (G) are running in this special election after the state board of elections did not certify the results from the 2018 race following an investigation into allegations of absentee ballot fraud.