GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – One of the Piedmont Triad’s representatives in Congress confirmed this morning that he would not be running again in 2024.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), whose 8th District includes Davidson and Montgomery counties, confirmed what had been projected for weeks: He is going to run for North Carolina attorney general.
Bishop, appearing on “Good Morning BT” on WBT Radio in Charlotte on Thursday morning, said he had “made a decision” and that there would be a “formal announcement on tomorrow [Friday]. There has been sort of an interest in what I’m going to do since about May, when this started to leak.”
Bishop, an outspoken member of the House Freedom Caucus, is completing his second full term after shifting districts when his home in Mecklenburg County in 2022 was drawn out of his former 9th District. He routed Democrat Scott Huffman with nearly 70% of the nearly 260,000 votes cast.
A former member of the North Carolina House, Bishop had found his way to Congress in a special election in September 2019 that was required because of a vote-harvesting scandal involving GOP electee Mark Harris.
He beat Democrat Dan McCready by about 2,800 votes, and in 2020 he won re-election with 55.6%.
Two-term Attorney General Josh Stein is running for governor after having succeeded the current Gov. Roy Cooper in that role.
Bishop says no Republican has served as attorney general since Zeb Vance Walser held the office in 1896. “It’s one of two Council of State offices [10 top department heads] that Republicans never have won [in modern times].”
“Dan Bishop authored the discriminatory and destructive anti-trans bathroom bill, voted against the certification of the 2020 election, and is now running for Attorney General of North Carolina,” North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton said in a statement released by her staff. “His track record of going after the most vulnerable communities, and amplifying conspiracy theories, shows that he is unfit for office.
“With so much at stake in 2024, and democracy itself on the line, North Carolinians cannot afford to have Dan Bishop serving as our state’s chief law enforcement officer.”
Democrats Tim Dunn and Charles Ingram have announced their candidacies, but there has been speculation that 14th District Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) might enter the race if his legislative district is redrawn to be less favorable for a Democrat, as most expect it to be.
Dunn is a 33-year Marine and attorney from Fayetteville, and Ingram is a member of the Navy Reserve and practicing attorney in Duplin County.
In 2020 Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill lost a very close race to Stein, but O’Neill has not indicated any interest in running again.
“This is the right thing for me to do, to come back to North Carolina,” Bishop said on WBT. “I was a serious lawyer. I want to reinforce support for prosecutors and front-line law enforcement officers.”
He cited problems in cities such as Asheville and Charlotte and said he feels this could be an “influential post.” He said a friend on the House floor last week told him that the move makes sense because “you have executive personality.”
He said Congress is “stuck in the status quo” about debt, immigration issues and what he calls “attacks on the First Amendment.”
“Congress is not the place to take dramatic of decisive action to change any of them,” he said. “This seems like the right place to go. I really intended to go to Washington and to do what people expected me to do, to be a reliable voice for them, to fight for them.
“This is another way to do the same fight, on another stage.
Attorneys general have been involved. … Many of the policy fights are attorneys general bringing action to keep the government from overreach.”
Bishop suggested this election is about fundraising and that his campaign is “going to be able to demonstrate very significant support in the first 10 days,” when he files his paperwork with the North Carolina Board of Elections. He didn’t explain what he meant.
But he noted that Stein had raised more than $10 million in the last election cycle, and his opponent had raised about half a million. “That won’t do it,” he said.
Even though his status had been muddled in speculation for several weeks, Bishop had continued to raise money for his congressional campaign.
His most recent quarterly report with the Federal Elections Commission showed he took in $71,736 in the quarter ending June 30 and has more than $1.4 million on hand.
This includes about $31,000 in PAC contributions, with donations directly from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and his House Freedom Fund super PAC. He also received $5,000 from the Back To Work super PAC of Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida).