Before March, Rep. Dan Bishop was a freshman Republican legislator who largely was unknown outside of Mecklenburg County, where he’d previously been a county commissioner.
That changed when House Speaker Tim Moore had Bishop sponsor House Bill 2, the law that has since drawn international attention. Bishop’s role in developing and lobbying for the bill has landed him on CNN and MSNBC and made him a lightning rod for criticism.
Bishop is an attorney who has spent a 24-year career handling business and local government legal issues. After four years as a Mecklenburg County commissioner, he ran for the state House in 2014 to succeed fellow Republican Ruth Samuelson, who did not seek another term in the southeastern Charlotte district.
“I’m conservative, but I believe you have to temper ideology with practical experience,” he said during his campaign.
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Bishop took a lead role on social issues last year when he co-sponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It drew criticism that it would allow businesses to discriminate against gay people. Moore killed the bill.
Bishop’s leadership on House Bill 2 has raised his profile as he seeks to move up to the state Senate and replace Sen. Bob Rucho, who’s stepping down. He faces Democrat Lloyd Scher in November.
Bishop has cited the backlash over HB2 in his fundraising emails: “They’ve called my home,” he said. “Threatened my business. And, of course, threatened my election. … they want to make us into a national example – SO THAT NO ONE WILL EVER STAND UP to the radical transgender agenda again.”