Poll close in North Carolina special House election seen as 2020 bellwether

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President Trump rips 'America-hating' Democrats at fiery rally in North Carolina

Trump calls out radical policies, says a vote for any Democrat is a vote for the rise of radical socialism; reaction from 'The Five.'

Polls have closed in a pivotal North Carolina special House election that will not only decide the winner of a long-contested and long-vacant House seat but potentially signal how President Trump will perform in the 2020 presidential election.

Republican candidate Dan Bishop, a conservative state senator, was hoping a pair of visits Monday to the GOP-leaning 9th Congressional District by both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence would boost him to victory over Democrat Dan McCready.

Should Bishop defeat McCready, it would enable Trump to assert that he pushed Bishop over the top. If McCready prevails or Bishop wins by a whisker despite Trump's broad support in the Republican Party, it might suggest GOP erosion and raise questions about Trump's and his party's viability for 2020.

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State officials ordered the unusual special election earlier this year, invalidating a win by GOP candidate Mark Harris over McCready in the 2018 midterms after uncovering ballot fraud efforts.

Some analysts have said the fraud scandal could undercut Bishop unfairly, and undermine any attempts to draw larger lessons from the race.

President Donald Trump, left, gives his support to Dan Bishop, right, a Republican running for the special North Carolina 9th District U.S. Congressional race as he speaks at a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

President Donald Trump, left, gives his support to Dan Bishop, right, a Republican running for the special North Carolina 9th District U.S. Congressional race as he speaks at a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

For their part, Trump and Pence threw their full-throated support behind Bishop.

"To stop the far-left, you must vote in tomorrow's special election," Trump told attendees at a fiery rally in Fayetteville, N.C., on Monday night. The president then slammed McCready as a dangerous proponent of "sanctuary cities" and rolling back gun rights.

"Just recently, Mecklenburg County set free an illegal alien charged with first-degree rape and crimes against a child," Trump said, his voice rising. "Support for sanctuary cities is disloyalty to American cities — and McCready wants sanctuary cities, with all of their protections for people who are serious criminals. Tomorrow is your chance to send a clear message to the America-hating left."

Meanwhile, McCready, a former Marine turned financier of solar energy projects, was banking on the district's suburban moderates to carry him over the top.

Democratic House candidate Dan McCready talks to volunteers at his campaign office in Waxhaw, N.C., outside Charlotte, Saturday. (AP Photo/Alan Fram)

Democratic House candidate Dan McCready talks to volunteers at his campaign office in Waxhaw, N.C., outside Charlotte, Saturday. (AP Photo/Alan Fram)

The House district stretches east from the prosperous Charlotte suburbs into rural areas hugging the South Carolina border.

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The district has been held by the GOP since 1963. In 2016, Trump won the district by 11 percentage points.

A new balloting controversy surfaced during the day when North Carolina election officials did not act on a request by the state Republican Party to extend hours at a single precinct.

The state GOP asked that the voting site stay open an extra hour and 45 minutes because they said some 9th Congressional District voters were showing up at the old voting location in Union County, a Republican-heavy area east of Charlotte.

Attendees line up outside hours before President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Monday Sept. 9, 2019 (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Attendees line up outside hours before President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Monday Sept. 9, 2019 (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

The State Board of Elections met and discussed the GOP request, but took no action.

One polling site in Mecklenberg County was kept open 25 minutse past the 7:30 p.m. closing time due to a reported gas leak.

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Before leaving Washington for the rally on Monday, Trump dismissed questions of whether a poor result for the Republican candidate would serve as a warning sign for 2020.

"No, I don't see it as a bellwether," Trump said.

Fox News' David Lewkowictz and The Associated Press contributing to this report.

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