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McCrory '100 percent' in for NC governor's race

Posted December 19, 2011

— Republican Pat McCrory confirmed Monday what's been the least-disguised decision in North Carolina politics for months – the former Charlotte mayor is running for governor again.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the GOP's 2008 gubernatorial nominee said he's "100 percent committed" to seek the Republican nomination in May. He expects to make a formal announcement early next year.

McCrory lost to Democrat Beverly Perdue in 2008 in the closest general election for the job in 36 years. A rematch seems to be the most likely outcome in 2012.

"I am convinced that now is the time to run for governor and bring the changes to a broken government and hopefully generate an environment that allows our economy to grow in North Carolina," McCrory said, adding "I just think it's important for me before the holiday season to let (the public) know I'm 100 percent committed to this effort."

There was little doubt, however, that McCrory was going to enter the race. The 55-year-old McCrory, a record seven-term mayor of Charlotte, began speaking at local Republican and tea party-style events within months of losing to Perdue by 3 percentage points.

"After the 2008 election, I was ready to return back to the private sector permanently, but the call to action from people throughout the state has been overwhelming and very humbling," he said in an interview with WBTV of Charlotte.

Veteran Republican consultant Jack Hawke will help lead the McCrory camp again, and he said it will be better funded and more competitive.

"I think he's a much better candidate, and I think he'll make a much better governor. He understands the state better," Hawke said.

McCrory has been slowly assembling a campaign team and raising money with assistance this fall from Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. His political committee was competitive with Perdue's campaign on fundraising through the first half of 2011.

Perdue has been struggling throughout her three years in office to overcome a poor national economy and uncertain state government fiscal picture.

McCrory, who works at his brother's consulting company and a Charlotte law firm, said Monday he'd give more details at his official announcement about why he should get a second chance to move to the Executive Mansion but pointed to his personal and government experiences and leadership skills.

"We'll make clear distinctions between me and any candidate running against me," said McCrory, who doesn't appear to have other well-connected or experienced Republicans competing with him now for the party's nomination.

State Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson alleges McCrory has been able to avoid disclosing many political activities with state record filings because he hasn't officially called himself a candidate and is failing to follow the spirit of campaign finance laws.

"The reality is that candidate-for-life Pat McCrory has been running for governor since he lost in 2008," Robinson said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, Republican Party spokesman Rob Lockwood said North Carolina needs a counterpoint to Perdue.

"The people of North Carolina overwhelmingly favor someone with a successful governing record like Pat McCrory against the failures of Gov. Perdue," Lockwood said in a statement.

Election 2012 Experts see expensive sequel to Perdue-McCrory battle

Democratic consultant Scott Falmlen said checks and balances with the Republican-led legislature will play a huge role in the governor's race.

"(McCrory) will have to start taking a stand. We know where Governor Perdue stands. She's let her veto pen do the talking," Falmlen said. "I think it's going to be a tough race."

Most polls give McCrory a big lead over Perdue. Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling has him up by a 50-40 margin, while the latest survey from conservative Civitas gives him a 9-point advantage.

The gubernatorial race is expected to be expensive and, at times, negative.

"When you're as unpopular as (Perdue) is, you usually try to make your opponent equally as unpopular. So, I don't think it's going to be a fun campaign," Hawke said.

Turnout for the 2012 presidential election should again be a factor in the race for governor, as it was in 2008, when Perdue benefited from a big push for Democrat Barack Obama.

Perdue and her cranked-up campaign staff has said she's definitely running, dismissing predictions by a state House member that she ultimately won't register as a candidate during the filing period set to begin in mid-February.

Four people, including two former campaign workers, have been indicted this year as a result of an investigation into dozens of campaign flights leading to the 2008 election that weren't immediately accounted for in Perdue campaign finance reports. A judge sentenced Perdue's former campaign finance director to unsupervised probation and a fine last week.

The State Board of Elections is supposed to consider Thursday two campaign finance complaints filed in 2010 by the former state Democratic Party executive director against McCrory's 2008 campaign. McCrory declined to comment about the cases Monday because they are ongoing, but his campaign consultant predicted earlier this month the board wouldn't find anything improper.

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  • barbstillkickin Dec 21, 12:17 p.m.

    First of I was not shouting I had my caps locked on accident. I am however overjoyed we might be able to get Purdue out of office. It has been way to long since our State has had a Governor that cares about the people. I do not know if McCory will be that person or not but I do know Purdue is not the caring person she has proven that. fayncmike I am not shouting just expressing an opinion that I feel very strongly about IF THAT IS OK WITH YOU.

  • barbstillkickin Dec 21, 11:59 a.m.

    Again I do not get published. I will say this one more time. McCory is the next Governor of North Carolina. Really anyone who runs against Purdue will win. She always says she has never lost an election well guess what she will now. I have never seen a governor veto so many laws and act like she cares when it is so obvious she does not. Purdue is still sitting there collecting interest off of illegally gotten money from her campaign. Maybe she will use that to run again. No need to put allot of money into running Mr McCory you already won,

  • gallbury Dec 21, 9:37 a.m.

    The plays are simple, but the players are slippery, ghostlike and opaque. Neither one of these candidates deserve to be Governor. I cannot, with any conviction, vote for McCrory; and yet, Perdue needs to go. Skeptisism of all career politicians should run deep in the public eye; no decent and honest person should view their actions with anything other than extreme prejudice.

  • fayncmike Dec 20, 6:52 p.m.

    "@ fayncmike - barb.etc is probably shouting for joy because s/he is so excited about the possibility of real leadership in the governor's mansion once governor perdue isn't there any longer. governor perdue, i am sure is a nice person, but she has been an awfully lame leader of this state. WHOHA.
    gtstallings45"

    First of all I'm not so sure Bev is leaving. Secondly I'm not sure it matters. It's been so long since North Carolina has had a decent governor I'm not sure we'd recognize one. Lastly shouting is never appropriate.

  • gtstallings45 Dec 20, 5:50 p.m.

    @ fayncmike - barb.etc is probably shouting for joy because s/he is so excited about the possibility of real leadership in the governor's mansion once governor perdue isn't there any longer. governor perdue, i am sure is a nice person, but she has been an awfully lame leader of this state. WHOHA.

  • fayncmike Dec 20, 3:49 p.m.

    "WELL DONE MCCRORY THIS IS YOUR YEAR TO WIN. YOU PICKED THE RIGHT TIME TO RUN MR GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA WELCOME TO THE GOVERNOR'S HOUSE. YOU GOT MY VOTE AND I DO NOT EVEN CARE WHAT YOUR ELECTION IS ABOUT. I WILL RUN TO THE ELECTION BOARD TO POST MY VOTE FOR YOU. WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME NICE TO KNOW YOU.
    barbstillkickin"

    Why are you shouting?

  • barbstillkickin Dec 20, 1:37 p.m.

    WELL DONE MCCRORY THIS IS YOUR YEAR TO WIN. YOU PICKED THE RIGHT TIME TO RUN MR GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA WELCOME TO THE GOVERNOR'S HOUSE. YOU GOT MY VOTE AND I DO NOT EVEN CARE WHAT YOUR ELECTION IS ABOUT. I WILL RUN TO THE ELECTION BOARD TO POST MY VOTE FOR YOU. WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME NICE TO KNOW YOU.

  • Dec 20, 1:31 p.m.

    I'm ready lets go and get that woman out of office...shes a crook and a baaaaaad politician to boot!

  • holmesap Dec 20, 12:11 p.m.

    Mccroy you can rest assured you have my vote !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I Carry even in Cary Dec 20, 11:51 a.m.

    This will be ugly for sure but it will be fun to watch!

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