McCrory’s full-time campaign

McCrory’s full-time campaign

- in Fitzsimon File

Former Charlotte Mayor and failed gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory was in Blowing Rock the other day making a speech to the Republican faithful and raising money.

Not much news there. The news would be a week when McCrory wasn’t making a political speech criticizing Governor Beverly Perdue and raising money.

McCrory, who narrowly lost to Perdue in 2008, has been running since the day that election was over, including appearing at right-wing town halls in 2009 trying to reassure the Republican base that he was not the political moderate the people of Charlotte thought him to be.

For the last year, he has been popping up at every Republican event from one end of the state to the other, running as hard as he can, though he’s tried to be coy about it.

As recently as the end of July, McCrory was saying that he was trying “to gauge the level of support and confidence in a potential McCrory campaign.”

Those remarks came after news that McCrory’s unannounced campaign had raised just over a million dollars in the last year. That is a lot of money for a gauge.

News accounts of McCrory’s Blowing Rock appearance reported that the checks from the crowd were put into envelopes marked “McCrory for Governor.”

There’s nothing unique about McCrory powerful political ambition. He has plenty of company on that score. But it is hard to remember a politician in North Carolina running for office full time three years before the next election.

All that would be nothing more than political insider chatter if McCrory were treated like a candidate instead someone considering a run who happens to be making a speech every other day. Perdue meanwhile is running the state and battling with a Republican General Assembly determined to take the state back 30 years.

McCrory can say anything he wants on the non-campaign campaign trail and nobody challenges it and most reporters don’t seem to feel obligated to call Perdue’s office or the Democratic Party for a response, the way they would if the gubernatorial race was in full swing.

It is in full swing for McCrory.

He complained in Blowing Rock of the state’s billions of dollars worth of unfunded pension and health care liabilities, saying it meant that the state budget wasn’t really balanced. He didn’t mention that virtually every other state in the country faces the same long-term dilemma and that North Carolina is actually in a better position than most.

He also didn’t outline a plan to address the liability issue and apparently no one asked. He did however lament what he claims is the growth in state government, which he surely knows has been slowed and then reversed in the last few years, even as the demands for services from state government have exploded during the economic downturn.

McCrory and his supporters are also fond of tying Governor Perdue to President Obama, which may turn out not to be the smartest political move they could make.

But it does raise interesting questions for McCrory. Which of the current Republican presidential candidates does he support?

Maybe he agrees with Texas Governor Rick Perry and doesn’t believe in Social Security and thinks that evolution is merely “a theory out there.” Maybe he supports Rep. Michele Bachman’s views that the recent storms could be a message from God.

Maybe he doesn’t, but those are two of the frontrunners for his party’s nomination for president.

Either way it seems like a legitimate question for a politician who is a full-time money-raising, speech-making candidate for governor, whether he wants to play semantic games about it or not.

McCrory’s campaign is in full swing and the media needs to treat him like it.

About the author

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.
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