Republican Dan Bishop narrowly defeats Democrat Dan McCready in close-watched North Carolina race
President Donald Trump and Republican Dan Bishop (screengrab)

On Tuesday night, Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop won a narrow victory over Democratic Marine veteran and renewable energy investor Dan McCready in the closely-watched special election for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

The Associated Press and NBC News called the race for Bishop.

North Carolina's 9th District is a heavily conservative region in the southern portion of the state, which voted for President Donald Trump by 12 points. But forecasters and polls consistently suggested a close race — leading some to speculate the election is a bellwether for Trump's re-election prospects next year.

A do-over of the election was called earlier this year after the 2018 race, between McCready and Charlotte Baptist pastor Mark Harris, was thrown out by the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Ballot irregularities and testimony uncovered a massive election fraud scheme to favor Republicans, in which political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless paid people to deliver him absentee ballots from predominantly elderly, African-American voters in Bladen and Robeson Counties. Over a thousand ballots may have been destroyed in an election that Harris carried by just over 900 votes.

In the final days of the campaign, Trump rallied in North Carolina to turn out voters for Bishop.

This win, along with a less closely-contested one in North Carolina's 3rd District, brings the Republican House caucus to 199 members, versus 235 for Democrats.