In a post last week, I noted that the 9th Congressional District race between Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop would boil down to McCready trying to prove that Bishop is a radical and Bishop trying to prove that McCready is a typical Democrat. Of course, both candidates are also working to counter those lines of attack. Bishop is trying to distance himself from HB2, the so-call “bathroom bill,” saying “I think people are ready to move on.” I also noted Bishop’s obvious line of attack on McCready:
For his part, Bishop will have to work hard to paint a vote for Dan McCready as a vote for liberals in Washington. He did just that with one of his campaign’s first video ads, aired during the primary, which sought to tie McCready to national Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders.
McCready has worked equally hard to counter that perceived weakness by distancing himself from more left-wing figures within the party. He returned a campaign donation from Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) campaign committee on March 30, stating “there is no place for divisiveness in our politics.” When Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders came to Mecklenburg County for a campaign rally, McCready was a no-show. In a recent interview, McCready reiterated his opposition to Nancy Pelosi.
McCready also staked out several positions in that interview that put him at odds with the more progressive elements of his party:
- He stated, “Republicans are right that we need to secure the border” and said that the border is not currently secure. He was noncommittal about expanding walls on the border.
- He refused to support a 2016 Charlotte ordinance on LGBTQ rights.
- He opposed impeaching President Donald Trump.
- He blamed partisan conflict in Washington on both major parties rather than pinning all the blame on Republicans and said that he would be proud to be “one of the most bipartisan members” of Congress.
Despite McCready’s proven fundraising prowess, the conservative nature of most voters in that part of North Carolina means that observers still consider the race a toss up. McCready’s avoidance of the left is smart politics.