McCrory reflects on future, tenure as governor

Posted June 16
Updated June 17

— Former Gov. Pat McCrory says he's not ruling out a future in public office following his re-election defeat in 2016.

McCrory was in Raleigh this weekend ahead of a scheduled speech at the Civitas 2017 Conservative Leadership Conference. In an interview with WRAL News on Friday, the Republican and former Charlotte mayor said it's been a "tough transition" to leave a job he loved following a close loss to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

"I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me because you put your heart and soul in a campaign," McCrory said. "I was more concerned about my team because my team wanted another term, and that impacted a lot of people in my cabinet, and we were looking forward to a second term of problem solving."

He noted lower unemployment rates, teacher pay raises and other successes he said left the state in much better shape than when he took office in 2013. But the former governor said he believed he lost the public relations war before the election.

"I failed to get the message out about the successes we had, and that includes getting the media to talk about it," McCrory said. "I think the protestors in front of the mansion were more effective with the media than I was."

McCrory declined to "revisit the issue" of House Bill 2, the law that caught statewide and national attention for requiring people to use public bathrooms matching their gender at birth and excluding gay and transgender people from discrimination protections. The battle that led to House Bill 2's eventual repeal raged throughout the 2016 campaign, a controversy that some political observers say contributed to McCrory's loss.

He said, however, that he wished the Charlotte City Council, which passed a nondiscrimination ordinance state lawmakers sought to override with House Bill 2, had dealt with it differently.

"I'm not going to bring it back because nothing's changed from the time I came into office to now. It was a symbolic issue, and now it was a symbolic solution with little or no meaning, and it's time to move on," McCrory said. "I think the media was played, the people were played by the Left that brought that issue to North Carolina."

McCrory has spoken publicly in the months since the election, for example at a recent state GOP convention. Although he said he hasn't yet made a decision on whether to run for office again, he's not closing the door on the possibility. He pointed to former Gov. Jim Hunt, who lost the 1984 U.S. Senate race to Sen. Jesse Helms but came back to win two more terms as governor.

"I'd be foolish not to reconsider coming back, but I won't make that decision for a very long time," he said.

McCrory declined to analyze Cooper's first few months in office, although he's been recently critical of his Democratic rival's handling of storm relief. But he said he hopes to see both the Democratic administration and the Republican legislature tackle some of the long-term issues facing North Carolina, rather than just getting through the budget process.

"I'm proud of what we did for this state," McCrory said. "I'm going to continue to speak my mind with solutions, with ideas and with a vision of how we need to move toward the future."


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  • Teddy Edmonds Jr Jun 19, 2:39 p.m.
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    How is it possible for one to "reflects on future"? Interesting headline.

  • Kyle Clarkson Jun 19, 11:44 a.m.
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    McCrory played politics when he gave teachers raises, but failed to give fair raises to state employees.

  • Mary Jo Holmes Jun 18, 1:51 p.m.
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    McCrory destroyed the Wilmington movie industry, HB2 costs millions of dollars of lost revenue for cities around the state, and you would only see him just making an appearance after a hurricane. He also tried to do anything he could to protect and nurture Duke Energy over the people of NC.

  • Charlie Watkins Jun 18, 8:30 a.m.
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    McCrory was in a bad position from the very start. It is hard to follow up an act like Dumplin' and Sleazley. But to be honest here in NC we should limit any governor to one term.

    Let them do the damage and then move on.

  • Stacie Hagwood Jun 18, 6:11 a.m.
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    McCrory: A legend in his own mind.

    HOWEVER: He is not solely to blame for the messes in this state, as they continue to mount. The bad thing about being a governor (or president) is that it is so easy to point a finger at ONE person than at an entire governing body. The sooner we can get this UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislature out of office, the sooner the UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation will stop.

  • Andy Holt Jun 17, 9:38 p.m.
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    Governor McCrory, YOU did an excellent job and you are to be commended. You are indeed correct, with the state of politics today with the PC crowd, snowflakes and the Liberals going wild... you hardly stood a chance. I as well hope that you run for office AGAIN, and with the PATHETIC Roy Cooper in office, the voters of N.C. will see the error of their ways if they haven't already. For some to think that Barry Obama did ANYTHING positive for the State, well.... "what is understood, doesn't need to be discussed." Barry left town, and his "legacy" left shortly on the heels of Hillary.

  • Chad Stinner Jun 17, 9:16 p.m.
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    McCrory started out strong. I really thought he might be a good governor but then he allowed politics, money and greed to get in the way.

    This is supported by how he handled the ash ponds, how he supported HB2 (which failed legal challenges), and a slew of other things.

    If he would have focused on what he campaigned to do, he would have been immensely successful with both Democrats and Republicans.

    You paid the price for your decisions. I hope you learned from them.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 17, 9:01 p.m.
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    Governor, you did an outstanding job, wish you were still in office.

  • Deborrah Newton Jun 17, 3:28 p.m.
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    Gov. McCrory, That is the first blunt statement regarding HB2 and those screamers harassing the Governor's Mansion I have read that makes any sense, having watched it unfold walking my dog each day. I witnessed your direct attempts to positively impact the lives of addicts and those suffering mental health issues, and their families, with an inclusive, productive aporoach. For that, in my view you exemplify the State Motto "To Be Rather Than To Seem". Because experience teaches the reliability of the adage "tigers do not change their stripes" only patience and time will reveal substance of current political solutions. That said, you've earned my vote next time, the hard way. Thank you for your service to NC, even if those shouting loudest fail to acknowledge. God speed, Deb Newton, Attorney

  • Anna Temple Jun 17, 2:00 p.m.
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    Mccrory certainly knows how to impress himself. He is out of touch with reality and he can thank Obama for nc financial success along with the top notch universities in our state that he and his ilk constantly try to destroy. The people of nc hopefully see that enlightenment leads to success. If only we had more guns in the hands of adults (18) that can't even be trusted to drink.. please sit down mccrory.