After months of speculation, it is official: U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-NC8, is running for the Republican nomination for North Carolina attorney general in 2024.

“After careful deliberation by my wife and me over the course of many months, we decided this is the right thing for me to do, to come back to North Carolina,” said Bishop, who broke the news Thursday on WBT Radio’s “Good Morning BT with Bo Thompson and Beth Troutman.”

The Charlotte native practiced law for many years before becoming a Mecklenburg County Commissioner, serving in that role from 2004 to 2008. He was next elected to the NC House in 2014 and the NC Senate in 2016, where he served until he ran for Congress. Bishop won a special election in September 2019 for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 9th Congressional District. He was re-elected in November 2020 to represent NC’s 9th Congressional District and again in 2022 to represent NC’s 8th Congressional District. 

Bishop said despite the fact of having a successful career in Washington, D.C., he missed being a lawyer and serving in that capacity.

“I practiced law for almost 30 years, and I was a serious lawyer,” he told WBT. “I missed that as part of my life, and I think it’s a particular time to reinforce support for prosecutors and frontline law enforcement officers. I think there’s an opportunity to use the influence of that office to restore law and order to our cities like Asheville, in particular, Charlotte, and some others that have a lot of problems that are frankly everywhere but is especially problematic in urban areas.”

Bishop noted the last Republican to hold the office of attorney general in North Carolina was Zeb Walser, who was elected in 1896 and served until 1900. 

“This is one of the two Council of State offices Republicans have never won, and one reason is, for example, that Democrats have pursued legally related offices with a great amount of resources,” he said. “[Current Attorney General] Josh Stein raised over $10 million in his last cycle in 2020, and his Republican opponent [Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill] raised about a half million dollars in the general election. That won’t do it.” 

Suggesting he may have a more serious chance at the office than past Republicans, Club for Growth immediately announced they are endorsing Bishop. Club for Growth endorsements usually come with large financial backing.

Bishop’s name has been in the national spotlight this year, initially going against California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s nomination for House speaker but eventually flipping his decision. He would later challenge McCarthy for his capability in the position while declaring his opposition to the debt ceiling agreement reached by McCarthy and President Joe Biden. 

In February, Bishop and members of the newly created Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government exposed details in its inaugural hearings into what some witnesses called a government censorship campaign. Part of the House Judiciary Committee, the two-year investigative sub-committee is looking into what members believe is discrimination by the federal government and social media platforms against conservatives and others, including a Catholic pro-life activist from Pennsylvania. 

“I’ve been there four years, and we’ve had some history-making stuff, particularly this year, but it is stuck in status quo in my view, and we have very big problems with debt that exceeds $32 trillion and rocketing upward, a border that’s chaotic and out of control, and serious challenges to our basic fundamental rights whether you talk about the censorship regime involving social media or now the capstone of this newest indictment against President Trump for things he said about the election,” he told Thompson and Troutman. “Those were all attacks on the First Amendment, and I think Congress has not been the place to take dramatic or decisive action to resolve any of them.”

Thompson asked Bishop if he would ever go back to Washington or if he is looking to stay in North Carolina if he were elected as attorney general. Bishop replied that while, ultimately, voters make decisions on whether you keep your position in whatever office you’re in, he isn’t one to plot out what his next steps are going to be in his career, again saying that it just seemed like the right time to run for the position.

He also said that he has had some anxiety about the decision because he really intended to go to Washington and do what people expected him to do, to be “a reliable voice for them, to be a fighter for them.” He wants people to know that, if elected as the state’s attorney general, he would still be fighting for them but in a different capacity.

“I mean, that sounds a little corny, but I mean it, and a number of folks said, no, I want you still fighting in Washington,” Bishop said. “And what I want that person to know, that anybody who feels that way is this is another way to do the same fight very much on a different stage. Even in the national issues, attorneys general have sort of evolved over the last 20 years, and many of the policy fights we fight out are attorneys general bringing litigation to contain the federal bureaucracy from overreach. The decision a month or so ago on President Biden’s attempt to cancel student loans was attorney general litigation, for example, so we’ll be doing a lot of things like that should I be successful in seeking this other position.”

Bishop said an official announcement would be made on Friday.