McCrory, Cooper face off in gubernatorial election
Posted May 1, 2016 6:00 a.m. EDT
Updated July 12, 2018 2:13 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper are facing off in one of the most closely watched gubernatorial elections in the country this year.
McCrory, a Republican and former Charlotte mayor, is wrapping up his first term in statewide office. Cooper, a Democrat and former state lawmaker, has been elected four times as the state's attorney general.
In the early stages of the campaign, McCrory has positioned himself as a pro-business governor who has presided over economic recovery from the recession thanks to tax cuts and conservative management of state finances. Cooper has started his campaign with a vocal call to invest more in education, saying that McCrory and his fellow Republicans have given tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of teachers.
The two men are sharply divided on House Bill 2, the controversial bill passed in reaction to Charlotte's transgender nondiscrimination ordinance. McCrory signed and has vocally backed what he describes as a "common sense" law that requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates. Cooper has called the law a "national disgrace" and has pointed to lost convention business, corporate objections and entertainment figures such as Bruce Springsteen refusing to perform in North Carolina as evidence the law should be repealed.
A third candidate, Libertarian Lon Cecil, will also on be on the ballot. However, Cecil has yet to show fundraising or polling numbers that indicate he will significantly impact the race.
For voters trying to make their decision, here's some more information about the two leading candidates. (For those using the WRAL App, the interactive features in this post are best viewed in your browser.)
McCrory, Cooper background
|Born||Oct. 17, 1956, Columbus, Ohio||June 13, 1957, Nashville, N.C.|
|Family||Married||Married, three daughters|
|Higher Education||BA Political Science/Education, Catawba College (1978)||BA UNC-Chapel Hill (1979); Law Degree, UNC-Chapel Hill (1982)|
|Political History||McCrory was first elected to the Charlotte City Council in 1989 and served three terms. He served as mayor pro tem from 1993 to 1995. He won election as mayor in 1995 and served seven terms. He ran unsuccessfuly for governor in 2008, losing to then-Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue. He did not run for re-election as mayor in 2009. In 2012, McCrory won the gubernatorial race, defeating then-Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton after Perdue decided not to seek re-election.||Cooper was a member of the state House from 1987 to 1991. He was a member of the state Senate from 1991 through 2000, serving as majority leader from 1997 until he left the chamber. In 2001, he took office as attorney general.|
|Work History||McCrory worked for Duke Energy for nearly 29 years, including during the bulk of his time as a Charlotte City Council member and mayor. He worked his way up from a management training program to become a senior adviser in the business and economic development group by the time he left. He retired from the company in 2008 to run for governor. After his November 2008 election loss, McCrory went to work for his brother's consulting firm, McCrory and Co. In 2010, he became senior director of strategic initiatives for Moore & Van Allen, a Charlotte-based law firm. He has also served on a number of corporate boards.||Before becoming attorney general, Cooper was a lawyer in private practice. After law school, he went to work for Fields and Cooper, a Rocky Mount law firm co-founded by his father. He was the firm's managing partner when he was elected attorney general.|
|Government Website||Office of the Governor||N.C. Department of Justice|
|Social Media||Twitter, Facebook||Twitter, Facebook|
|Campaign Finance Disclosures||McCrory's campaign committee reported having $4.3 million on hand as of Feb. 29, the most recent report that was filed.||Cooper's campaign committee reported having $5.6 million on hand as of Feb. 29, the most recent report available.|
|Financial Disclosures||The state Ethics Commission financial disclosure forms filed by public office holders. McCrory's most recent form shows he owns more than $10,000 in Lending Tree stock. McCrory has since sold Duke Energy stock that he disclosed owning on earlier SEI forms.||The state Ethics Commission financial disclosure forms filed by public office holders. Cooper's most most recent form shows he is the beneficiary of a pair of family trusts and has ownership interest in several real estate ventures.|
|International Movie Database Page||Like many politicians, McCrory has several IMBD entries due to appearances on such news programs as "60 Minutes." He also appeared in the made-for-TV movie "The Ultimate Gift." He played a mayor at the time he was serving as mayor of Charlotte.||Cooper's IMDB page includes only a couple of news programs. Notes include his appearance on a "60 Minutes" program about the Duke lacrosse rape case.|
Meanwhile, here's what the polls have to say: