Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner reports on national Democrats’ approach to North Carolina’s special 9th District congressional election.

A close race to fill North Carolina’s 9th District U.S. House seat may offer a preview of the 2020 election when Democrats in swing districts will try to distance themselves from their party’s leftward swing.

Dan McCready, a Democrat, is vying to flip a seat long held by Republicans when he faces off against state Sen. Dan Bishop in a Sept. 10 special election.

“This is a test drive,” North Carolina political strategist Lawrence Shaheen told the Washington Examiner. “The messages that Dan Bishop and Dan McCready are using will be mirrored by the messages of the national parties, ultimately, in 2020.”

McCready, an Iraq War veteran, is running as a moderate who has pledged to vote independently no matter the demands of the House Democratic leadership led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California. His campaign slogan is “Country over Party,” and he touts his background as a Marine and small business owner.

“When I built a business or served in the Marines, we never cared if you were a Democrat or a Republican,” McCready told voters in campaign literature. “We cared about getting the job done. It’s time we had new leaders who put country over party — and got the job done for North Carolina families.”

House Democrats elected from swing districts are poised to align their strategy with McCready’s.

Democrats are defending three dozen seats in competitive districts, many of them won by defeating Republicans in 2018.

They are at risk of losing reelection in 2020 in part because the Democratic Party and the presidential field has swerved to the left of their own constituents on major policy issues such as healthcare and climate change.