McCrory: Election wins no mandate for GOP

Posted November 5, 2014

— Despite gaining control of Congress and several governor's offices nationwide and maintaining super-majorities in the North Carolina General Assembly, Republicans shouldn't gloat over the results of Tuesday's midterm elections, Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday.

McCrory said the GOP needs to "govern with humility," insisting that the multitude of wins wasn't a mandate from the voters.

"Even though we won, we shouldn't spike the ball. We should behave as though we've been to the end zone before and continue to govern, continue to lead," the Republican said in an interview with WRAL News.

"North Carolina is still very divided," he said. "We've got to recognize where there's differences and then try to have conversations."

McCrory said he is looking forward to having conversations with state lawmakers in the coming weeks and months about the 2015 legislative agenda, which could include Medicaid reform and even expanding the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

He said he doesn't fear having little leverage with Republicans holding veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate, saying the vetoes he's issued in the past two years are used to make a statement, not necessarily to win a battle with lawmakers.

"It's a separation of powers issue, not a partisan issue," he said. "My responsibility, whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat, is to ensure the executive branch maintains its role of executing laws."

McCrory said he hasn't decided on whether to seek a second term as governor in 2016, saying he's not even halfway through his first term and is too busy running the state. He laughed at ads targeting him and the planned cleanup of coal ash ponds statewide that ran in recent weeks, noting he wasn't even on the ballot.

"I've got to stay focused on the long-term issues and the short-term emergencies and not get distracted by petty politics," he said.

"The campaign cycle of people running for three years, I don't think that's the way the founders meant it to be," he said. "We're governing, we're leading, we're working – not running for re-election."


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  • lcjacobs777 Nov 7, 2014

    Governor McCrory is right - the GOP and Independents and Tea Party winners are now where the Newt Gingrich led overtake of congress in the mid-1990's placed these same representatives. This time this new group need to take a lesson from the failures of their predecessors - govern for the good of this nation and its people.
    As to the NC Legislature - continue to make the decisions you have been charged with making to get our state out of debt and bring jobs, good paying jobs to all counties, not just the largest counties.
    You have received a mandate and any other attempt at spinning this in any other manner is a fool's errand - don't waste it!

  • HeadsUp Nov 6, 2014

    If McCrory does not believe in a three-year election cycle, then why did he and his team set up all these outside groups raising money to effectively continue his campaign nonstop?

    On second thought, that's a four-year campaign cycle, not three. My bad.

  • kirtl Nov 6, 2014

    Why is a mandate needed? If the winner believes in what they stand for, and that it will move us all in the correct direction, why does it matter what the margin of victory is? When you win, go full steam ahead with full conviction and try to bring us all forward. No need to concede to the losing side. They lost. Elections have consequences. If the winning campaign promises are, in fact, better, we'll see the results. If not, we'll see that too. Then we'll really have evidence on which to base our next vote.

  • lprop Nov 6, 2014

    I think McCrory is right. Tillis only has approximately 50% support of the total number of people who voted. He needs to respect the concerns of the ones who did not vote for him just as much as the ones who did. He can get the mind set on doing what is right instead of when is the next election. Let's get positive, be optimistic.

  • jackaroe123 Nov 6, 2014

    That's a really nice approach to see from Gov McCrory. I'm not a fan, but he has had some moments where I've been pleasantly surprised and he has earned some respect from me.

    I think he and the GOP-run NCGA treated their 2012 victories exactly like a mandate, and when they've met resistance, it has humbled McCrory, at least, and he has reflected on it, emerging more humble and thoughtful. I give him props for that, even if our perspectives are too far apart for him to ever earn my vote.

    In these moments, I see a glimmer of hope for a return to a time when people could disagree politically yet be respectful and not resort to such hateful rhetoric and vitriol as we've seen throughout the age of the Internet (Bush2 and Obama's entire Presidencies, essentially).

  • Objective Scientist Nov 6, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Like your comments... especially the wish that USA politicians would stop using "mandate". I'd add the electorate and media to your wish! That said... you state that anything less than 51% is not a mandate... implying that any candidate receiving a minimum of 51% has a mandate. I can't agree with that. Remove the "complications and nuances of a 3rd candidate". You have two candidates... each campaigning by stating policies, etc. that they support and don't support (don't we wish they'd do that and forget all the mud-slinging!). If a candidate wins, even by a handful of votes, that clearly indicates a simple majority support for that candidate's positiions. However, winning by a vote of 50.5% to 49.5% is unequivocally a very VERY weak "mandate" or support for that candidate's positions! Decidedly NOT a "mandate" as it is typically used by politicians, their supporters in the electorate, and the media! Such hyperbole is misleading!!!

  • John Miller Nov 6, 2014
    user avatar

    He's right. 21.3% of eligible voters voted for Tillis in the US Senate race vs. 20.4% for Hagan. That's a margin of just 48,501 people. More the half the eligible voters either didn't care or felt disenfranchised. Nowhere near a mandate. *This* is the problem with US politics.

  • Objective Scientist Nov 6, 2014

    What the hell is a "mandate"? Dictionary definitions are: an official commission to do something; the authority to carry out a course of action, given by the electorate to a candidate or party that is victorious in an election the authority to act in a certain way.

    Does merely winning an election - by even the smallest number/percentage of votes - constitute a mandate? If not... what must the percentage of votes and/or margin of victory need to be to be considered a mandate? After considering the definitions of mandate and how the word is often used in politics... there is not a definitive line between mandate and no mandate... it is a "hazy and broad line"! In other words, a mandate varies by degree. IMO - a very low margin of victory - 1-2 percentage points - in that it does determine the winner is a mandate - is an extremely WEAK mandate indicating extremely WEAK support for that candidate's positions! NOT a mandate as the word is typically and hyperbolically used!

  • NeverSurrender Nov 6, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It's one thing to attend to the policy initiatives you mentioned (great list, not likely they'll do any of those because it would actually be an intelligent use of their time!) but even if they succeeded in checking off every item...they still need the candidate that can get the voters to choose elephant in the voting booth!

    And unfortunately, the GOP field of suspected candidates isn't really all that great and don't fare well against Hillary when put into a hypothetical matchup.

    Definitely they need to replace the "leadership" but fat chance that happens (Jon Stewart will be thrilled...he does a very good impression of McConnell!). I thought McConnell really showed how little class he actually has by letting the President hit his voice mail on a phone call he *KNEW* was coming to him when the results were clear. Even if you hate the POTUS, you ought to have the common courtesy to at least pick up the phone and show some respect...

  • peterk1970 Nov 6, 2014

    The latest numbers I saw is that Tillis won with only 49% of the ballots. Anything less than 51% should not be seen as a mandate.
    Plus, mandates is really a term more appropriate for parliamentarian styles of government. When a mandate fails (a promise can't be kept or is broken), the President/Queen can dissolve parliament & call for new elections.
    Considering that, I really wish US politicians on all sides would stop using the term.