May 2, 2023 - News

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop is weighing a run for N.C. attorney general

U.S. Rep.-elect Dan Bishop, a Republican, delivers remarks in the House Chamber in Washington, DC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

North Carolina Congressman Dan Bishop, one of the state's most prominent and controversial Republicans, is considering a run for state attorney general, Axios has learned.

Context: Bishop, a former state lawmaker and current member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, is no stranger to the spotlight. He was the architect of HB2 — the since-repealed state law that restricted transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

  • Years later, his narrow win in the race for the state's 9th Congressional District in 2019 also drew national attention.

Why it matters: If Bishop decides to run, he's expected to be the strongest contender in the Republican primary for attorney general.

State of play: Bishop has an army of support waiting in the wings.

  • North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger, the state's most powerful Republican would chair Bishop's campaign, a source close to Berger told Axios.
  • And Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is running for governor, will back Bishop should he get in the race, Robinson's political strategist Conrad Pogorzelski told Axios.
  • The conservative Club for Growth political action committee, which backed now-U.S. Sen. Ted Budd and numerous other Republican candidates who won in 2022, told Axios the PAC hopes Bishop decides to run.
  • "We think Dan Bishop would be a great Attorney General," Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh said in a statement.

What they're saying: The Republican Attorneys General Association also weighed in on Bishop's potential run.

  • “North Carolina is a state we can win in 2024 and Dan Bishop would be a phenomenal candidate," Peter Bisbee, RAGA's executive director told Axios.

The intrigue: Bishop's potential entrance has frozen the field of potential challengers.

  • Only one candidate, former lawmaker and state prosecutor Tom Murry, has announced so far. Numerous other candidates are also weighing a run but have yet to get into the race.
  • Former U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray told Axios he called off his plans to announce a run for state attorney general last week after a conversation and follow-up text with Bishop that led him to believe Bishop was running for AG.

Big picture: In North Carolina, the pathway to the governor's mansion runs through the attorney general's office.

  • Gov. Roy Cooper previously served as attorney general, and current Attorney General Josh Stein announced earlier this year that he's running for governor in 2024.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Republican Attorneys General Association.


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