McCrory says campaign message won't change

Posted January 30, 2012
Updated January 31, 2012

— Hours from formally entering the race, Republican candidate Pat McCrory said Monday that the departure of Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue from the 2012 gubernatorial campaign won't alter his message of overhauling North Carolina state government.

McCrory, who will kick off his campaign Tuesday at a Guilford County meeting hall, said he's sticking with the same plan he had before Perdue announced last week that she won't seek re-election – a move that's created a Democratic primary race and sent other potential candidates scrambling. 

McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who narrowly lost to Perdue in the 2008 general election, said it wasn't a total shock that he would no longer face a once-likely rematch with Perdue this fall.

"Our schedule has not changed. Our message won't change and our strategy won't change," McCrory said. "This scenario is one we saw potentially happening, so it didn't come as a huge surprise because we knew she's been in trouble for various reasons, and part of it was me being a strong candidate."

McCrory said Perdue's departure would allow many Democrats who felt obliged to support their party's incumbent to back his campaign, noting that "phones have been ringing off the hook" in recent days. He had already found some success during 2011 with receiving contributions from Democrats who had supported Perdue in 2008.

Still, he said, he expects the campaign to be hard-fought, regardless of his eventual opponent.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison of Orange County already are running in the Democratic primary, and a half dozen others are considering whether to become gubernatorial candidates in a compressed time schedule – filing starts in two weeks and the primary is May 8.

Thirteenth District Congressman Brad Miller and former State Treasurer Richard Moore released statements Monday that they're still considering bids, while Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said he will not run.

Democrats also are encouraging former University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles to run.

Pat McCrory Web only: McCrory lays out campaign themes

McCrory took aim at Perdue's plan to press lawmakers for more education spending, including her call for a 0.75-cent increase to the state sales tax rate to help restore some of the funds schools lost in last year's budget battle.

"She's asking for a 15 percent sales tax increase during one of the worst recessions and highest unemployment rates this state has seen (in) decades," he said. "That's the last thing we need to do.

"We need to reform and fix the (tax) system we have now before we ask the public and struggling businesses for any more money," he said.

He also began laying out his legislative priorities, such as paying teachers for performance, opening up North Carolina for more energy exploration and changing the system of incentives the state uses to attract businesses.

"It's gotten so bad that we have to offer cash upfront for outside companies to come to North Carolina, and there is no guarantee (of jobs), regardless of what they say," he said. "We should have a consistent policy for the whole team, including existing businesses."

McCrory declined to single out any potential Democratic opponent, but he said he believes all of the possible candidates have a common thread –  they enabled the Democratic policies of the past dozen years under Perdue and predecessor Mike Easley that he insists have broken state government.

"All of them have been closely linked with the Easley-Perdue culture and policy," he said, adding that he hopes to change the culture of state government.

"The only thing I take to my grave is my ethics," he said. "I take those values to the executive branch of North Carolina government as I did to the mayor's office in Charlotte."

If McCrory gets a clear path to the primary – he's spent the past year trying to close out potential GOP competitors by running a quasi-campaign of speeches and fundraising – he'll keep accumulating money while Democrats battle it out for at least three months to win their nomination.

McCrory "has the ability to focus on the November election and not the primary," said Paul Shumaker, a longtime Republican consultant whose clients have included U.S. Sen. Richard Burr. And with more than $2 million in his campaign coffers at the end of last year, McCrory has a definite money advantage over all of the announced candidates, Shumaker said.

But McCrory's campaign will have to do some retooling for another candidate, and the uncertainty of who that person will be could take him out of his comfort zone, said Dennis Wicker, the Democratic lieutenant governor from 1993 to 2001.

"It's a game change for Pat," Wicker said of Perdue's decision. "I'm sure it's thrown them off stride a little."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • tiredofgovtwaste Jan 31, 2012

    "Do tell then, Mr. Democrat, what is wrong with the folks that have announced their bids? I'm sure you must have some strong points about why you can't support them less than a week after they announced their candidacy. forautumn"

    Because i have done my research. Politics is not just a time of the year, it's year round. Unfortunately, most don't see it that way. I have looked at what they have said their values are, looked at who supports them, their past political history and to see if they walk the talk or just expands on the talk that their political party provides for them to spews forth from their mouths. I don't set back and let the media bring me what i need as we all know that you can't put any faith in what is written or said as most media outlets lean toward the more liberal and unreliable broadcasting standards and are bias in their report. So, don't vote based on political party, race, creed or sex, vote intelligent if you are so inclined!

  • storchheim Jan 31, 2012

    Neither, Plenty. Some of us bash state employees because we know what we're talking about, not because we want an excuse not to pay taxes.

    Hope that helps.

  • storchheim Jan 31, 2012

    At least for IT, OJT disappeared in the early 90s when Microsoft, Novell, Sun, Oracle, and others figured out there was big money to be made in training and granting people "certification".

    Now you don't get on the job training from the programmer in the next cubicle, you do it on your own time and expense and maybe get partly reimbursed by your employer. Why, when I'm unemployed, would I pay for training for a job that doesn't exist because they all want 3-5 years experience?

    I'd imagine oil drilling isn't too much different.

  • arfamr1007 Jan 31, 2012

    If the democrats seriously put Walter Dalton (the next croney in line) on the ballot, it will be hilarious!!

  • Equinox Bandingo Jan 31, 2012

    .75/.0475 = 15.7 so, it's a large increase but certainly not bev perdue's or the democrats' fault. they're not the one's who have robbed the coffers. look at the budget in charlotte.

  • sckinton60 Jan 31, 2012

    Just follow my lead and vote straight Democratic ticket and things can only get better than they were 5 yrs. ago. But if you're a multi-multi-millionare, then it would be in your best interest to vote republican. Rich makes you republican, voting republican doesn't make you rich.

  • Equinox Bandingo Jan 31, 2012

    Look at what NC has been put through in the past hundred plus years of their rule in NC. It's a mess. - driverkid3 ---------------------- Right... yep, North Carolina is a horrible, horrible place. I guess that's why people keep moving here. But you know, it's after the influx of so many from elsewhere that we've adopted the lottery, built toll roads, raised taxes and tuitions and stopped punishing criminals. All of the new folks from other places were supposed to fix all of our problems. That's what I heard, anyway.

  • Roland K. Jan 31, 2012

    typical republican. times change but they remain stuck in the past with policies that don't work. I'll pass on McCrory

  • Gidder Dun Jan 31, 2012

    "Anyone who's not intelligent enough to follow a simple statement like that is a dangerous voter...that explains how Bev ended up as gov in the first place...lol"

    did not vote for her in past election and would not if she had not dropped out! Also I am much smarter than you give me credit. You still did not answer my question. How is .75% of 1 penny too much to ask for?

    As for the NC Education Lottery that is a joke and was passed illegally just as the Republicans just recently did in the inth midnight hour.

  • arfamr1007 Jan 31, 2012

    Please help me understand this tax issue and correct me if I am wrong. NC Gov. Beverly Perdue is asking for .75% of 1 penny tax increase to help with funding of education. How can .75% of 1cent be 15%? Why is that too much to ask for when funding our education?
    Gidder Dun

    Why didn't she use the education lottery as supplemental funding like she and the democrats said they would do? Why did they REPLACE the funding instead? Where is the rest of the money? Is $10k per child not enough? Why don't charter schools charge that much and yet get better results?