Republicans are hoping an eleventh-hour pep talk from President Donald Trump will propel them to a special election victory Tuesday in a GOP-friendly House district in North Carolina, a race that could illuminate their chances of retaking the House majority and Trump’s own reelection prospects in 2020.
Trump urged an arena packed with MAGA-hat wearing supporters Monday to vote for conservative state Sen. Dan Bishop, who’s in a tossup battle for the vacant seat. Playing to evangelical Christians in the crowd, Trump said Democrats are “not big believers in religion” and added, “Tomorrow, we take the first steps in firing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and winning back the House.”
That seat has been vacant since February when 13-term GOP Rep. Walter Jones died. Republican Greg Murphy, a doctor and state legislator, was expected to defeat Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville, in that race. Trump won that district in 2016 by 23 percentage points.