Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory used social media and an online video Tuesday afternoon to announce he would seek a second term.
"Long before I was elected governor, one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life was to come home after my job was eliminated and tell Ann I didn't have a job anymore," McCrory says in a voice-over as his video starts.
He uses that story as a jumping off point to tout his administration's efforts to improve the economy and "do more to help people find a job or the training they need to get back on their feet."
The first-term Republican announced his re-election run with little fanfare or buildup on the first day of the filing period for the 2016 campaign. Candidates have until noon on Dec. 21 to officially sign up to run.
McCrory is the first Republican to enter the field, and barring an as-yet unexpected challenge, he should have a clear path to his party's nomination. At least two Democrats have announced they will vie to take on McCrory: Durham lawyer Ken Spaulding and Attorney General Roy Cooper, who announced his run in early October.
In recent months, McCrory has made moves that appeared designed to appeal to a conservative primary base of voters, including joining a handful of other states and one other governor in support of a Virginia school district facing a discrimination lawsuit over the use of bathrooms by a transgender high school student.
But in his announcement video, McCrory emphasizes economic matters, not social issues, referencing his call for a "Carolina Comeback" from the 2012 campaign.
"I'm running for governor not because of what we've accomplished. I'm running for governor because our comeback story isn't over; there's still more to do," McCrory says.
As he enters the campaign, McCrory is both buoyed and burdened by incumbency. He can point to an economy that has improved during his term in office, although political opponents will dispute how much credit he deserves.
"Pat McCrory came to Raleigh promising moderation and reform, but he’s proven to be a secretive special interest politician whose policies have made it harder on average working families," said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. "He’s balanced huge tax cuts for people at the top with tax hikes on seniors and working families."
Despite a sometimes fractious relationship with the General Assembly, McCrory also can point to several high-profile legislative wins, including a $2 billion bond referendum that will be on the primary ballot.