Politics & Government

Bishop wins endorsement that could mean more outside money in the 9th District primary

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop has won the endorsement of a national conservative group, an endorsement that could signal even more outside spending in North Carolina’s 9th District GOP primary.

The Club for Growth political action committee has endorsed Bishop, one of 10 Republicans running in the special congressional primary on May 14. The group bills itself as the nation’s “leading free-enterprise advocacy group.”

“Sen. Bishop has been a leading fiscal conservative in Raleigh and he’ll continue that... in Washington,” Club President David McIntosh said in a statement. “Just as important, Sen. Bishop is the only conservative who can win the nomination without a runoff. Republicans can’t afford a four-month runoff that will drain resources needed to defeat liberal Dan McCready, while allowing McCready to focus on November.”

McCready, who ran in 2018, is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The Club for Growth PAC already has spent $17,600 against Stony Rushing, a Union County commissioner and one of eight other Republicans in the special congressional primary.

The Club is the second national group to come into the North Carolina race.

The National Realtors Association PAC is spending $1.3 million on TV, radio and digital ads on behalf of Republican Leigh Brown, a Cabarrus County real estate broker. That’s the spending record for a single group in the 9th District.

The Club for Growth and its affiliate groups have their own record of spending big in North Carolina.

In 2018 they spent $446,000 against McCready and $260,000 against Democrat Kathy Manning in the 13th District, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Manning lost to Republican Rep. Ted Budd, who got $115,000 from Club affiliates.

As with Rushing, the groups sometimes spend against Republicans. In 2016 they spent $788,000 against then U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, who had been drawn into a district with fellow GOP Rep. George Holding. She lost the primary.

Bishop already has a financial advantage in the race. Reports filed this month showed he’d raised six times as much as the next candidate, former Mecklenburg Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour.

Early voting starts Wednesday for the May 14 primary.