Politics & Government

Rep.-elect Bishop to be sworn in on Tuesday, leaving a scramble for his Senate seat

Dan Bishop reacts after winning the 9th District race in N.C.

Here's what Dan Bishop said after winning the 9th District race in N.C.
Up Next
Here's what Dan Bishop said after winning the 9th District race in N.C.

Republican Dan Bishop will be sworn in Tuesday night in Washington, ending a nine-month vacancy in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District and kicking off what could be a scramble for his state Senate seat.

Bishop is scheduled to be sworn in at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, a week after beating Democrat Dan McCready in the special election.

Bishop’s swearing-in could take place before all the votes are counted in the district that runs from Charlotte to Bladen County.

A State Board of Elections spokesman said Friday there are potentially hundreds of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted. Bishop won by nearly 4,000 votes — or 2 percentage points — in unofficial totals. Election officials in the district’s eight counties will canvass, or verify, the votes Monday. The state board will certify results in October.

Bishop’s District 39 Senate seat, meanwhile, will be filled by a vote of around 80 members of the Republican executive committee who live in the district. It’s unclear when they’ll meet.

They would recommend a candidate to Gov. Roy Cooper, who would make the final appointment.

A handful of Republicans have been mentioned for the seat: former state Reps. Bill Brawley, Rob Bryan and Andy Dulin; former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour; and Jamie Harris, a former vice president of Charlotte’s Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated.

Former Charlotte City Council member Kenny Smith has taken himself out of the running.

“I would love to serve in the state Senate one day, but the timing is just not right for me,” Smith said Friday.

Ridenhour said he’s undecided about seeking the seat. Brawley could not be reached. Harris said he’s been approached about running and “it’s an interesting idea. I’m flattered that people would think I’m qualified.”

Bryan and Dulin each said they’re interested.

“I’m definitely interested,” said Bryan, who served two terms in the House until being defeated in 2016. “Part of the reason I’m interested is I think I can walk on the floor and be effective.”

Asked if he’s interested, Dulin said, “The short answer to that would be yes but the longer answer is that there would be a process.”

“I’ve told everybody that there will be four or five quality individuals that would be in the discussion,” said Dulin, defeated last year after a single term.

The last time Mecklenburg County party officials chose a state senator was in 2014, when about 50 Charlotte Democrats selected Jeff Jackson to take the District 37 seat that had been vacated by then-Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter.

Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College. To subscribe to The Observer, go to: www.charlotteobserver.com/jim.
  Comments