Internal polls from both sides show Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready running neck and neck in a traditional GOP stronghold that was unexpectedly competitive in 2018. But privately, several Republican officials and strategists have conceded that Democrats may have an edge in voter enthusiasm in a district that President Trump won by nearly 12 points in 2016.
Republicans have sought to nationalize the race by homing in on issues like Trump’s proposed border wall and labeling McCready a “socialist.” They’re hoping that an eleventh-hour visit to the district by Trump on Monday will lend them the momentum they need to push Bishop across the finish line on Tuesday.
In an interview with The Hill on Saturday, Bishop insisted that Trump’s planned rally in the district, as well as an appearance by Vice President Pence on Monday, would give his candidacy a final jolt heading into Election Day.
“The sense that we have is that we’re surging,” Bishop said. “Early voting sort of started out a little soft and has firmed up. It looked really good the last couple days. And I think with the president coming in and the vice president on Monday, that’s going to put us over the top.”
Democrats, meanwhile, have deployed a divergent strategy in the district, which stretches from the Charlotte suburbs to Fayetteville in the east. McCready has sought to keep his distance from partisan rancor in Washington and cast himself as a compromise-minded moderate.