Local Politics

McCrory blames defeat on 'Obama factor'

Posted November 10, 2008

— After winning 10 straight elections as a city councilman and mayor in Charlotte, Pat McCrory's winning streak came to an end last  Tuesday when he lost the gubernatorial race to Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue.

A week later, the results still sting. But in his first public comments since election night, McCrory said he's not bitter about his campaign.

"I'm proud. It's been a heck of a ride," he said, noting he stuck to his promises to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign and to debate his opponents every chance he had. "It's been extremely emotional (and) fatiguing, but my integrity's intact."

The only element of the campaign that continue to irk him, he said, were the negative ads Perdue rolled out in the week before Election Day. One tried to link him to illegal immigrants in Charlotte, and the other suggested he would support the expansion of landfills in North Carolina to accept out-of-state trash.

McCrory maintains the ads were extremely inaccurate, but he chose not to return fire.

"Strategists and campaign consultants can sleep at night after running dirty campaigns. I can't," he said.

Even with the ads, he said he would have won if it hadn't been for the massive organization Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama built in North Carolina and its effort to get people to the polls to cast straight-party ballots.

"It was politics we've never seen before," McCrory said. "That Obama machine was incredible – just incredible – and that got people not only to vote for him but down the ticket. It's something the polls didn't see."

The nationwide economic crisis that swelled Obama's campaign swamped McCrory's message of opening up state government and ending a string of public corruption cases involving Democratic state officials, he said.

"I was prepared to take on the Bush factor," he said of President George W. Bush's low approval ratings. "I wasn't prepared for the Obama factor."

Outside his mayoral office, McCrory's picture hangs with those of past mayors, several of whom lost in statewide races. His loss last week was the seventh straight by a sitting Charlotte mayor.

Still, he put the so-called "Charlotte curse" in perspective, noting that Perdue defeated him on his home turf of Mecklenburg County as well as other urban areas across the state.

"I think the main reason Charlotte hasn't elected someone from Charlotte is because of Charlotte," he said.

Holding his thumb and index finger an inch apart, he quoted television sitcom secret agent Maxwell Smart to show how close he came to breaking the curse.

"We missed it ... by that much," he said.

McCrory declined to say whether he would run for a record eighth term as Charlotte mayor – or any other public office – after his current term ends next year. He quit his job at Duke Energy several months ago to campaign full time, so he said his priorities now are finding another private-sector job and taking his wife on a 20th anniversary snorkeling trip.

"I'm going to go way under the water and not think about politics for a while, and (I) won't hear my own voice for a while because I'm fatigued by it and (by) barbecue," he said with a laugh.


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  • vote4changeASAP Nov 11, 2008

    The hypocracy of voters who voted for "change" in Washington yet they voted for "the same" in NC.

  • n2alltypes Nov 11, 2008

    I, a white historically independent voter, voted for Obama AND Perdue AND Hagan. While my vote was in support of the candidates I choose and not a protest vote against the republicans, I can tell you I took great pleasure in individually selecting the candidates on the ballot and not using the straight party option! Like I said before, I hope the republican party continues to blame straight party tickets, Obama coat tails and others for their failures and sticks to their use of fear mongering, religious bigotry and hate. I am in no mood to see them gain any ground anytime soon!!!

  • gow1986 Nov 11, 2008

    Just look at the results people! Obama and Perdue got almost an identical amount of votes. McCrory is totally correct. It's really sad too. NC has been dominated by corrupt democrats for far too long and we came so close to electing a honest, decent man for governor. I know I speak on behalf of at least 47% of my fellow NC citizens in saying - hope you run in 2012 Pat!

  • geosol Nov 11, 2008

    moonpie: "Maybe he should blame it on the "Bush Factor" instead...."

    Bingo!!! Bush made Obama possible. But i guess i'm just a little hurt because he didn't invite me to the little shindig for Bush and McCrory at Mr. Kane's house. Y'all know Mr. Kane, right? He's the guy that wanted the City of Raleigh to pay for a parking deck for his project. Kind of sounds like corporate socialism. Typical hypocrite Republicans; got what they so richly deserved.

  • CWILLIAMS1639 Nov 11, 2008

    hey I voted for Obama and McCrory so he is very wrong. When I saw the special on him and Bev. he sounded like a great fit for Gov. but now that he is blaming Obama for his defeat it makes me a little angry. The problem is that some people don't look at anything but the "ads" for anyone but the President.

  • valentine girl Nov 11, 2008

    I have not read all the comments, but please do note that there was enough cross voting to elect 2 cabinet members from the Rep. party. Unger got my vote because he just stated the facts and did not go negative.

  • Voice of Reason 23 Nov 11, 2008

    "Yep...a certain population voted for Obama and then a straight Democrat ticket probably not knowing the names of the candidates or their current Governor for that matter."

    LOL - yeah, not like all those smart Republicans who all picked their candidates individually. I'm sure they were all very knowledgeable about all the candidates, too.

  • SimpleGurlNC Nov 11, 2008

    I agree with you "wakemom" I too voted straight Dems b/c Reps has not done nothing for me in 8 years (Bush). So don't blame my President Obama for pushing first time voters to the poll, thanks Obama.. Blame the Reps not the Dems and please don't take the straight ticket away b/c it would make my voting much longer next time. Meaning I would write down all the Dems names and vote indiv. if I had too b/c I AM A DEMS FOR LIFE..

    GOD Bless America..

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 11, 2008

    I have to agree with McCrory. It was the Straight Party Ticket that beat him. Any person, who watched the debates and has half a brain, would have voted for McCrory. He won the debates easily by 85+%.

  • moonpie Nov 11, 2008

    Maybe he should blame it on the "Bush Factor" instead....