President Donald Trump thinks he deserves more credit for a Republican House race in North Carolina this week, a report from the New York Times found on Wednesday.
Brad Parscale, the president’s 2020 campaign manager, told reporters that Dan Bishop’s 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District was completely due to the influence of Trump, who held a rally for the Republican the night before the race.
“There’s no question that he is the congressman-elect this morning because of the personal efforts of President Trump,” Parscale said.
The Times reported that Trump himself was calling for this spin, irritated that he wasn’t getting praised enough:
Mr. Parscale’s victory lap was conducted on behalf of a president who privately grumbled to several aides on Tuesday that he was not getting the credit he deserved for delivering a Republican victory in the closely watched special election.
He wasn’t really shy about his desperation for credit. On Twitter Tuesday night shortly after the election, the president tweeted:
Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race. Big Rally last night. Now it looks like he is going to win. @CNN & @MSNBC are moving their big studio equipment and talent out. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
It appears Trump made up the “17 points” number. The few polls that existed seemed to indicate that McCready and Bishop were in a dead head as Election Day approached. On Twitter, one user posted a partial screenshot of a poll supposedly showing McCready 14 points ahead, but the source of that data wasn’t clear.
Still, it’s perfectly conceivable that Trump was the cause of Bishop’s win. It was a close race, and Trump’s endorsement and rally may indeed have made the difference in the race. Of course, it’s pretty embarrassing that a president is so desperate for praise that he would diminish the accomplishment of another member of his party and claim it for himself.
More broadly, though, election analysts pointed out that the result of the race is hardly an auspicious sign for the president’s party. While Bishop won by 2 points this week, in 2016, Trump won the district by about 12 points. There are worrying signs for the Democrats, too — this year’s result showed that the party is still struggling with rural voters — but overall, the special election doesn’t bode well for the GOP’s efforts to hold on to the presidency or to win back the House.
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Your guide to the 2020 Democrats: Who’s in, who’s out and WTF is going on anyway?
There's a frontrunner, who has led almost every national poll since last winter, allowing for a few outlier polls and a brief period around the end of the summer. There are three other leading contenders, two of whom have been near the top of the polls for months, while the third only recently emerged from the pack. There is a pack of dark-horse candidates, whose odds of being elected president now approach zero but who remain in the race for various reasons. There are some with no shot at all. There are two fringe candidates, likely using this campaign to explore career options. And there's a pair of billionaires who hope to buy their way to the presidency by spending alarming amounts of money on campaign ads. That probably won't work — but you might have heard the same thing about another billionaire in that other party, a few years back.