Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Rep. Dan Bishop to Run for AG in North Carolina

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) is a leading member of the Freedom Caucus (which means that, in effect, he's louder than most of the other members). He also represents a district that is R+20, so he is pretty safe. Nonetheless, he's decided to leave the House and make a run for the attorney generalship of his home state.

It's easy enough to ascertain why Bishop would make this choice. To start, the AG seat is open, since current AG Josh Stein (D) is running for governor. Further, and consistent with that point, the AGship is a launching pad for gubernatorial (and U.S. Senate) runs. Presumably the Representative has his eyes on something bigger than a seat in the House. North Carolina is also likely to redraw its district maps this year, which introduces uncertainty. Even under the current maps, Bishop might be vulnerable to a challenge from the left, either a more moderate Republican who runs on a primary platform of "I'm a conservative, but not one willing to wreck the economy with a government default" or a moderate Democrat who runs on a platform of "I'm a moderate who agrees with the Republican Party on some things, but I don't support looney tunes stuff like debt defaults and blocking military promotions."

On top of all of this, by virtue of his notoriety, Bishop will attract a lot of money from right-wing billionaires like Richard Uihlein and Steven Schwarzman. North Carolina has campaign finance limits, but they are less strict than federal limits. If Bishop was running for reelection to Congress, he could collect $6,600 from each supporter. Running for AG in the Tar Heel State, he can cash checks for nearly twice that—$12,800 per person. At that rate, a couple dozen friendly billionaires and millionaires should allow Bishop to run laps around his competition, money-wise.

That said, Bishop is going to draw some serious primary competition (although thus far, the only declared GOP candidate is former state representative Tom Murry). He's also going to draw some serious general election competition, very possibly Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-NC). Oh, and the last time a Republican was elected AG of North Carolina, the White House was occupied by... Grover Cleveland (1896). Given that North Carolina is purple, while Bishop's politics are ruby-red, a moderate Democrat like Jackson should be in a good position to continue the trend. What Bishop has to hope for is that a ticket with him, and far-right Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R), who is running for governor, and Donald Trump himself brings out the Trumpy vote in droves, while somehow also causing the anti-Trumpy vote to stay home. (Z)

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