Dan Bishop prevailed in the "battle of the Dans" in North Carolina on Tuesday, bringing an end to the final race of the 2018 midterms. The Republican state senator narrowly defeated Democratic rival Dan McCready in a special election in the state's 9th Congressional District, sparing Republicans an embarrassing loss in a district President Trump carried by 12 points in 2016, the New York Times reports. GOP candidate Mark Harris led McCready by 905 votes after last year's election, but the result was never certified and the state election board ordered a do-over after evidence of ballot tampering involving a Harris operative surfaced. With most ballots counted Tuesday night, Bishop, best known as the author of the state's controversial "bathroom bill," was ahead by around 2 percentage points.
Ahead of the election, outside GOP groups poured more than $5 million into the district, which has been Republican since 1963. Trump held a rally for Bishop on Monday night. "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," the president tweeted Tuesday, though the AP notes that the race was long considered too close to call and no publicly released polls showed Bishop 17 points down. Analysts say the narrow result in a GOP stronghold shows that the party might still struggle in next year's election. CNN reports that in a second North Carolina special election Tuesday, Republican Greg Murphy heavily defeated Democrat Allen Thomas in the 3rd District. The seat became vacant earlier this year with the death of Rep. Walter Jones Jr., a Republican first elected in 1994. (Read more North Carolina stories.)