Looking ahead to two U.S. House special elections in NC

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, September 6, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters to decide congressional special elections Tuesday in NC-3 and NC-9 
  2. Third Democratic primary debate takes place September 12
  3. What’s the Tea?

Voters to decide congressional special elections Tuesday in NC-3 and NC-9

Voters in two North Carolina districts—the 3rd and 9th Congressional Districts—will elect new representatives in special elections on September 10. Early voting in both districts began August 21 and was scheduled to end today—September 6—although some polling locations were forced to close due to Hurricane Dorian. Here’s a look at each race and the early voting data so far. 

North Carolina’s 9th 

State Sen. Dan Bishop (R), Dan McCready (D), Jeff Scott (L), and Allen Smith (G) are running in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District in the south-central part of the state. The election was called after the state board of elections did not certify the results from the 2018 race following an investigation into allegations of absentee ballot fraud.

As of September 3—the 14th day of the 17-day early voting period—54,372 ballots had been accepted, including mail-in absentee and in-person early ballots. That’s roughly half the number that had been accepted on the 14th day of early voting during the November 2018 election. In 2018, a total of 156,935 absentee and early ballots were counted. 

On the campaign trail, Bishop has invoked his record in the state legislature, including helping pass a constitutional amendment requiring voter ID in 2018, lowering income taxes, and opposing sanctuary cities. McCready has campaigned on his plan to lower prescription drug prices and says he’d seek bipartisan legislation on healthcare, education, and taxes in the House. 

In 2018, Republican nominee Mark Harris led McCready—who was also the Democratic nominee in that race—by 905 votes based on the unofficial results. Three polls ahead of the special election have shown Bishop and McCready within the margin of error of each other. Donald Trump (R) won the district by 12 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

The special election has featured endorsements from prominent national figures and $8 million in ad spending from satellite groups—including $2.6 million by the National Republican Congressional Committee and $1.2 million by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (R) have campaigned for Bishop in the state, and former Vice President Joe Biden (D) endorsed McCready.

North Carolina’s 3rd

State Rep. Greg Murphy (R), Allen Thomas (D), Tim Harris (L), and Greg Holt (Constitution Party) are running in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd District in the northeastern part of the state. The special election was called after former incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R) died February 10. Jones was first elected to Congress in 1994.

There were 14,349 ballots cast as of August 28, including mail-in absentee and in-person early ballots. In the November 2018 uncontested election for the same seat, 94,458? early and absentee ballots were counted. 

Murphy—who defeated Joan Perry in the July 9 Republican primary runoff—has campaigned on his support of President Trump and highlighted his work as a physician and state legislator. Thomas has emphasized economic development, small-town revitalization, and improving access to healthcare in his campaign. 

According to campaign finance reports through August 21, Murphy raised $902,000 and spent $803,000, and Thomas raised $565,000 and spent $476,000. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the district with 61% of the vote.


Third Democratic primary debate takes place September 12 

The third Democratic presidential primary debate takes place September 12 in Houston. The following 10 candidates will participate:

•    Joe Biden
•    Cory Booker
•    Pete Buttigieg
•    Julián Castro
•    Kamala Harris
•    Amy Klobuchar
•    Beto O’Rourke
•    Bernie Sanders
•    Elizabeth Warren
•    Andrew Yang

ABC News and Univision are hosting the debate at Texas Southern University. Linsey Davis, David Muir, Jorge Ramos, and George Stephanopoulos will moderate the event. Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals. 

The 10 Democratic candidates who did not qualify for this debate can still qualify for the next one using the same qualifying criteria. The Democratic National Committee announced this week that the fourth primary debate will take place in Ohio on October 15 and 16.

Candidates must have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. The candidate must also receive 2% support or more in four national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. 

Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson are the closest to qualifying for the October debate, having already passed the fundraising threshold of 130,000 unique donors. Steyer needs one more eligible poll showing 2% support, Gabbard two, and Williamson three.

The last round of debates was held on July 30 and 31 in Detroit. Since then, Mike Gravel, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Seth Moulton, and Kirsten Gillibrand have ended their campaigns for president.

What's the tea?

What’s the Tea?

As our story above noted, several counties in North Carolina canceled early voting this week for the two congressional special elections due to evacuations associated with Hurricane Dorian. This got me thinking about how our readers feel about early voting.

How do you feel about early or no-excuse absentee voting where you live?