Let me be clear, I support the re-election of Gov. Pat McCrory, without hesitation. I know there are those who question my support. Fairly. After all, why would an out gay man even one with a history of GOP activism and employment support the man who signed House Bill 2?
Make no mistake, I think H.B. 2 is an egregious piece of legislation. It is lawmaking at its worst. I would have counseled against signing. Even now, I struggle to explain his defense of that signature. But, the signing of one piece of bad legislation does not dictate abandoning the candidacy of someone who has real accomplishments. Hanging the blame on Governor McCrory alone is patently unfair there’s plenty to share.
What is fair is that our governor has a record the LGBT community can celebrate. When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling on marriage equality, our governor made clear he would respect and uphold the law. There would be no “carve outs” for those, including North Carolina magistrates, who disagreed with the ruling. Further, he directed all state agencies to immediately comply with the ruling. No exceptions.
And who could forget the national fallout in the aftermath of Indiana’s so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Yes, that would be the same law a mother recently used for defense after viciously beating her 7-year-old son with a coat hanger, leaving 36 bruises. Her sentence? One year’s probation. McCrory loudly and correctly denounced a proposed law here and, with the help of House Speaker Tim Moore, made sure North Carolina’s RFRA law never saw the light of day.
As for House Bill 2, well, just know I could write a doctoral dissertation on the whole sordid episode. Gov. McCrory worked diligently behind the scenes to head off Charlotte City Council adoption of policy that sparked the whole mess. Even after their action and before the special H.B. 2 legislative session he sought a face-saving way out for everyone. Only at the last minute did he sign and for reasons I still don’t understand House Bill 2.
And where was Roy Cooper during this time? Strategizing on building a gubernatorial campaign around H.B. 2 because, frankly, he had nothing else on which to build one.
When a whiff of compromise was in the air and it looked like an H.B. 2 compromise might be reached with the legislature, where was Roy? I’ll tell you where: He was calling Democratic legislators whose votes might be needed to pass a compromise and threatening blackmail if they supported one. That’s where Roy was, running a race for governor built around House Bill 2 and nothing else. Nothing. I can’t stand a hypocrite especially in politics Roy.
There are other reasons, of course, why I support the re-election of McCrory. The fiscal health of our state, the explosion of economic growth and job creation since he took office, and the reforms and de-politicization of state government (think of the Strategic Transportation Initiative, for instance) after decades of Democratic manipulation and skulduggery are all accomplishments of which we can be proud.
Like a lot of folks over the past almost four years, at times I scratched my head and wondered,
where did the affable, problem-solving, competent mayor of Charlotte go when governor-elect Pat McCrory moved to Raleigh? Mayor Pat never really went away. He’s here, in the persona of Gov. Pat McCrory.
During the last month Gov. Pat McCrory has shined his absolute brightest since taking office. He has done so by providing real leadership before, during, and after Hurricane Matthew. That’s the Pat I know. That’s the Pat I’ve been waiting to see. And, that’s the Pat McCrory I voted for in 2008, in 2012, and who I voted for two weeks ago in early voting. That’s my governor, and I stand with him with pride.
Dan Gurley is a former chief of staff for Congressman Cass Ballenger, former deputy political director for the Republican National Committee, current member of the State Ports Authority, and, to his knowledge, the first openly gay Republican appointed to a state board or commission by a Republican leader (Thom Tillis) and confirmed by a Republican-controlled legislature.