Dan Bishop is headed to Congress.
On Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Dan McCready in a close race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. While Donald Trump coasted to a 12-point margin of victory in the heavily red area in 2016, Bishop is projected to win by just two points: 50.7 percent to 48.7 percent.
Trump campaigned heavily for Bishop, with both the president and Vice President Mike Pence flying to the Tar Heel State to boost GOP support in the contentious special election. The North Carolina state Senator entered the race when Republican Mark Harris’ narrow victory over McCready in the 2018 election — which was decided by less than 1000 votes — was nullified following accusations of voter fraud.
Republicans spent heavily in the race to ensure the 9th Congressional District, which encompasses suburban Charlotte, remains in GOP control. Conservatives reportedly spent $6 million on the campaign.
But while Bishop was viewed as a less controversial alternative to Harris, what the two men share in common is their opposition to LGBTQ+ rights.
While Harris believes that homosexuality should still be illegal and that being gay is a choice, Bishop was a sponsor of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 as an elected lawmaker. The disastrous “bathroom bill,” which was passed during an emergency session of the legislature in March 2016, forced transgender people to use restrooms that do not align with their gender identity when using public facilities.
Exactly one year after HB 2 passed, lawmakers approved a “replacement” bill to appease critics that actually served to invalidate pro-LGBTQ+ local ordinances until 2020. It effectively kept the law in place for three more years.
Bishop, who funded an alt-right social network that caters to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, has continued to oppose LGBTQ+ rights as a elected official. In a fundraising email cited by the Charlotte Observer, he referred to basic equality for trans people as the “radical transgender agenda.” He also co-sponsored North Carolina's attempt at passing an Indiana-style Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Unsurprisingly, Bishop has been called “the worst politician in North Carolina.”
In accordance with custom, Trump congratulated himself as returns showed that Bishop would eke out a win despite his anti-LGBTQ+ history. The POTUS claimed the candidate “was down 17 points” before Trump took an interest in the election.
“He then asked me for help,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday night, “we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race.”
There’s no evidence Bishop was ever down 17 points.