Local Politics

Charlotte Mayor Mulls GOP Bid for Governor

Posted December 18, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory hasn't officially entered the race for North Carolina governor, but polls show he would be a strong contender for office.

A new poll by Public Policy Polling, an independent agency with several Democratic clients, shows McCrory would defeat State Treasurer Richard Moore and would run a tight race against Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue. Moore and Perdue are the two leading Democrats in the gubernatorial race.

In addition to the poll numbers, McCrory has started talking like a candidate.

"There's a culture in the State Capitol right now of non-accessibility, of problems with ethics, of a lack of vision," he said.

The perception of arrogance in Raleigh pushed McCrory to reconsider his political future after he had said last spring that he had no plans to run for governor, he said.

"I'm going through a soul-searching process," he said, adding that he expects to announce his decision after the holidays.

State Sen. Fred Smith, Salisbury attorney Bill Graham and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Orr have been campaigning for months, staking out positions and lining up GOP donors.

A sizable chunk of Republican voters remain undecided, however, and David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace College, said McCrory could shake up the primary if he enters the race.

"There's not been a lot of traction (by candidates)," McLennan said.

Although he's in his 13th year as Charlotte mayor – the longest tenure in the city's history – McCrory portrays himself as a political outsider pushing for tougher laws on gangs, illegal immigrants and a bigger commitment to transportation needs from the state.

"I've stepped on the toes of both the far left and far right, but I've done what the voters wanted," he said.

McCrory's record in Charlotte on taxpayer-backed growth could help and hurt him, McLennan said.

"He has pushed and supported mass transit, which is not a very strong conservative Republican issue," McLennan said.

Charlotte mayors haven't had luck in running for statewide office in recent years. Richard Vinroot lost in both of his gubernatorial bids, while Harvey Gantt was beaten twice by former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

McCrory chuckled when asked about the so-called "Charlotte curse," and he said there's still time before the May 6 primary for him to enter the race, if he decides to do so.

"I don't think its too late, not just for me but for anyone else. The polling shows that," he said. "No matter who's in the race, it's wide open."

13 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • independent_thinker Dec 19, 2007

    "You can't compare the muder rate of Charlotte and Durham. "

    Yes you can. I compared the murder rate - the number of murders per 100,000 residents, which controls for population differences.

    Murder down for one year out of 13? Glad to see you think one data point suggests a trend.

  • jeffthompson Dec 19, 2007

    The Charlotte MSA has a murder rate that's 77% HIGHER than Durham.

    This guy's been Mayor of Charlotte for 13 years and you think he'll fix a statewide gang problem or immigration? Based on what evidence? Charlotte has a murder rate that's statistically identical to Los Angeles' murder rate.

    You can't compare the muder rate of Charlotte and Durham. Charlotte has almost 700,000 people just in the city limits. Barely over 200,000 for Durham. And beside our murder rate is down so far this year. We have only had 65 murders or so. Several years ago we were hitting 120 something murders.

  • Oh Smeg Dec 19, 2007

    Brilliant strategy, motorfinga and pbjbeach. It's always wise to cut off your nose to spite your face; obviously a pair openminded Democrats. It's that kind of narrowminded attitude that's made this state great.
    Nevertheless, there's always been an antagonism toward anything or anyone connected to Charlotte because many people in Raleigh believe the capital city is the center of the universe.

  • jeffthompson Dec 19, 2007

    I am a Democrat and live in Charlotte. Pat McCrory is great. He was 1000% behind our Light Rail and made sure it opened on time (Nov 24th, 2007). He has done alot of wonderful things for Charlotte. He is also behind fighting gangs which is out of control in Charlotte. So I would also consider voting for Pat!

  • independent_thinker Dec 18, 2007

    The Charlotte MSA has a murder rate that's 77% HIGHER than Durham.

    This guy's been Mayor of Charlotte for 13 years and you think he'll fix a statewide gang problem or immigration? Based on what evidence? Charlotte has a murder rate that's statistically identical to Los Angeles' murder rate.

  • pbjbeach Dec 18, 2007

    folks when election time role around again next year just remeber that the republicans are the one in bed with thhe contractors in this state an that in an of it's self will explain the road conditions from MANTEO TO MURPHY AN THE DETERITIONG PAVEMENT ALL ACROSS THIS STATE THANK YOU

  • pbjbeach Dec 18, 2007

    motorfinga
    i am 100% with you the republicans in this state have got to much power right now they make me want to stand up an click my heels together an through my right hand in the air as in heil thank you

  • smitty Dec 18, 2007

    Fred Smith is a developer and the CEO of the largest highway construction company in the state, C C Mangum. He built Heddinghole. He is running for governor. Scary, no?

  • davidgnews Dec 18, 2007

    He sounds more forward-thinking than what I hear from any of the current competition.

  • cjump Dec 18, 2007

    Go Pat Go!!!!!!

More...