CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There are 117 days until voters will decide their representative for the 9th Congressional District, but the gloves are already off.
Standing next to a cardboard cutout of Dan McCready, Republican State Sen. Dan Bishop held a press conference outside McCready campaign headquarters 30 minutes before the Democrat was scheduled to have one in the same place.
Bishop told reporters they would get the same answers from the poster as they would from McCready.
"If you want to do your 2 p.m. press conference with this cardboard cutout, it will have as much to say as Dan today," Bishop said. "People who are running for Congress ought to let people know where they stand."
Bishop has come under fire for authoring House Bill 2, the controversial law referred to as the bathroom bill that resulted in numerous boycotts of the state. Asked three times, Bishop declined to say whether he regrets the bill and said voters are ready to move on.
"HB2 is an old issue, and there is a lot of fantasy about it in the media," Bishop said. "I think voters are tired to hear about it."
Bishop questioned whether McCready is using the 9th District as a springboard to the U.S. Senate and whether he believes there is a crisis at the border. He also called on McCready to say who he endorses for Democratic nomination for president and whether he will back the nominee.
During McCready's press conference, the Democrat called Bishop a career political insider and criticized his record in the General Assembly.
"His agenda is quite possibly the worst North Carolina has ever seen," McCready said. "Every North Carolinian should be terrified if he gets to Congress and can put in his agenda."
McCready came out against the Green New Deal, "Medicare for All" and impeaching President Donald Trump.
"I think he needs to be defeated at the ballot box," he said.
Addressing immigration, McCready called for the border to be secured and for bipartisan immigration reform. Asked five times, McCready told reporters he is "not interested" in running for U.S. Senate in 2020 and that his focus is the 9th District race. However, he did not pledge to not run. He declined to offer support to any Democrat running for president.
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Libertarian Jeff Scott and Green Party candidate Allen Smith are also running. The election is Sept. 10.
Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up. Trump won the district by 12 points in 2016.
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