This NC-9 special election between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop could let us know if the political winds are still blowing in the same direction they were last November, when Democrats ended up flipping 40 House seats and winning control of the chamber.
Or it could reveal if those winds have changed.
A win by Bishop and the GOP — in a district that President Trump won by 12 points in 2016 — would keep the Republicans’ magic number of winning back the House next year at 18 seats.
Still, even a narrow Republican win should be a cause of concern, a la the special elections of 2018, since the Cook Political Report identifies more than 30 GOP-held House seats being less Republican leaning in nature than NC-9.
But a win by McCready and the Democrats – and observers view the contest as a coin flip — would not only raise the GOP’s magic number to 19 seats for 2020; it would also be a disastrous sign for Republicans.
Especially in a presidential battleground state like North Carolina, which also will host competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests in 2020.
And guess who’s headed to campaign for Bishop tonight — President Trump, who holds a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., at 7:00 pm ET after inspecting damage from Hurricane Dorian in the state.
Former South Carolina Gov. and Congressman Mark Sanford said he’ll be jumping into the 2020 Republican presidential race, joining former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who have already announced bids to challenge Trump next year.
And this morning, Trump tweeted about Sanford joining the race:
...but then he ran for Congress and won, only to lose his re-elect after I Tweeted my endorsement, on Election Day, for his opponent. But now take heart, he is back, and running for President of the United States. The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates, will give it a go!
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certainly didn’t rule out a Kansas Senate bid for 2020. Check out the exchange on “Meet the Press” yesterday:
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Chuck Todd: "So, okay, you could do the Sherman-esque deal. You could say, 'If nominated, I will not serve,' all of that business. You have not done that. Why?"
Pompeo: "I've been pretty clear, Chuck. I think it's unambiguous. Others want to speculate on my future a lot more than I do. As you can see from today, I'm incredibly focused on what I'm doing. It's not just Hong Kong and Afghanistan. We've got opportunities all across the world. That's what I'm focused on. And I intend to continue to do that so long as ... President Trump asks me to be his secretary of state, this is what I intend to do."
Todd: "You will not be on a ballot November of 2020?"
Pompeo: "This is what I'm going to do."
Todd: "You will not be on a ballot?"
Pompeo: "As long as President Trump wants me to be his secretary of state."
Over the weekend, we got the results of several new polls.
The national Washington Post/ABC poll among registered voters: Joe Biden 29 percent, Bernie Sanders 19 percent, Elizabeth Warren 18 percent, Kamala Harris 7 percent, Pete Buttigieg 4 percent, Beto O’Rourke 3 percent, Andrew Yang 3 percent, Tulsi Gabbard 2 percent and Amy Klobuchar 2 percent.
Bernie Sanders stumps in Iowa before heading to Denver for an 8:00 pm ET rally there… Julian Castro holds a rally in Houston… Joe Sestak is in Massachusetts and New Hampshire… And President Trump holds his rally in that NC-9 race at 7:00 pm ET.
NBC’s Julia Jester and Amanda Golden sum up their most memorable observations from the 2020 candidate speeches at the New Hampshire state convention on Saturday:
Elizabeth Warren’s show of force both outside the arena and inside ahead of her speech – before which her campaign distributed “Win with Warren” thundersticks to the crowd – reflected her strong level of organization here on the ground. But the senator herself inspired a nearly two-minute standing ovation welcome and multiple big applause lines during her speech.
Cory Booker impressed the crowd, earning a roaring reception with multiple standing ovations from the high-energy crowd – if any candidate gets a bump from their convention performance, Booker just might be the one.
President Trump is tweeting about criminal justice reform, John Legend “and his filthy mouthed wife” tonight...but remember what he tweeted Saturday? A meeting w/ the Taliban at Camp David days before 9/11 had been scheduled; then scrapped https://t.co/k1FSKzhxS6