On Aug. 3, US Congressman Dan Bishop, NC-08, announced his candidacy for North Carolina Attorney General. The Club for Growth (CFG), an influential national conservative 501c4 organization, immediately declared its support for Bishop. On Aug. 7, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) announced it would also be supporting Bishop.
“Dan Bishop has spent his entire tenure in public office fighting for conservative values,” RAGA chairman Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said. “At a time when Washington bureaucrats and the Biden Administration are trampling on our rights and subverting the legal process, we need to add strong fighters like Dan Bishop to our ranks so we can continue restoring the balance between the states and federal government.”
Carolina Journal reached out to RAGA inquiring how much money they intended to put into efforts supporting Bishop’s election.
“Whatever it takes,” a spokesman for RAGA responded.
In 2019, CFG endorsed Bishop in his first bid for Congress. CFG noted in the press release that Bishop has a 97% lifetime rating on their annual federal economic scorecard.
“Dan Bishop is the conservative champion that the people of North Carolina deserve as Attorney General,” Club for Growth PAC president David McIntosh said. “Congressman Bishop is a strong supporter of free markets, school choice, and is a leading voice in the U.S. House of Representatives pushing back against the Biden Administration’s radical agenda. We look forward to providing the necessary support to ensure Bishop becomes North Carolina’s next Attorney General.”
CFG has become the largest independent expenditure operation in the United States. In North Carolina, the group was pivotal in securing Sen. Ted Budd, R-NC, a primary and general election victory.
“With Club for Growth and now [RAGA’s endorsement], Dan Bishop is going to be better funded than any N.C. GOP Attorney General candidate ever,” Michael Luethy, Sen. Ted Budd’s top political consultant, said.
Bishop has held elected office in North Carolina since 2015. He served one term in the state House and one and a half terms in the state Senate before deciding to run for Congress in a 2019 special election. Bishop’s Democratic opponent was Dan McCready. Bishop’s campaign team coined the phrase “Right Dan” as a marketing slogan during the primary, and continued using the phrase through the general election. McCready was labeled “Wrong Dan.”
The race drew national attention because of its competitiveness, the circumstances leading up to the election, and it being one of only a couple of US congressional races in 2019.
Prior to 2015, Bishop was a Mecklenburg County commissioner from 2004 to 2008.
“It really is quite simple: North Carolinians are tired of tired of feckless Attorneys General who pick and choose which laws they enforce and substitute their personal opinions for the substance of our constitution,” Bishop said in his announcement. “As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I will be a tireless backer of our state’s prosecutors and law enforcement officers. I will prioritize protecting the public and keeping criminals behind bars. And I will relentlessly protect the God-given freedoms and rights granted to you in our constitution.”
In 2023, Bishop garnered national attention for his opposition to electing Kevin McCarthy as US speaker of the House. Bishop’s initial opposition gave him leverage to get McCarthy to commit to a rule that allows a single House member to call for a vote to remove the speaker. Bishop also helped the Freedom Caucus gain three seats on the influential House Rules Committee.
Bishop first gained some national prominence after being the lead author of “House Bill 2,” a bill that made North Carolina law so that people must use gendered public restrooms in accordance with the sex designated on their birth certificates. At the time, celebrities, large corporations, politicians, the mainstream media, and even liberal state and local governments joined together in a campaign to boycott North Carolina until Bishop’s bill was repealed.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver moved the NBA All-Star game out of North Carolina over his opposition to the bill.
In 2016, the bill had passed the House with significant bipartisan support and did not receive votes against it in the state Senate, although no Democrats voted.
Tom Murry, R-Wake, is the only other Republican who has declared for the office. Charles Ingram, D-Duplin; and Tim Dunn, D-Cumberland, are two Democrats who have launched their campaigns. However, there is speculation that US Rep. Jeff Jackson, NC-14, will enter the race.