RALEIGH — Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory spoke to North State Journal about the 2022 U.S. Senate race and the experience he brings to the table as a candidate.
“We’ve got a great campaign team we’re working with. We’ve got a great team and we’re going to win,” McCrory told North State Journal.
At last count, 11 Republicans, nine Democrats and three independents have officially announced their intent to run in the 2022 race. North State Journal asked McCrory what sets him apart from the field of candidates and why he decided to run.
“Well, to quote, Tina Turner we’re ‘simply the best’ to represent North Carolina based upon accomplishment, based upon vision. Based upon a conservative record of achievement and based upon leadership,” McCrory said. “There’s no one that comes close in the state of North Carolina running for the seat who’s actually kept his promises when running for elective office, whether it be a city council office, or mayor’s office, or the governor’s. Also, I’ve always kept my promise and did what I said I was going to do and I don’t think any other politician could say that based upon our track record of success.”
The race is set to be a nationally-watched race. McCrory said the future of the U.S. Supreme Court was one of the big items at stake. Additionally, he said the future of other hot button issues like fiscal responsibility, reliable and inexpensive energy, immigration, and law and order were also at stake.
McCrory has a long history of elective experience – around 33 years-worth – having served as a Charlotte City Council member first elected to an at-large seat in 1989. He went on to be re-elected two times (1991, 1993) and also served as mayor pro tempore (1993-1995).
In 1995, McCrory was elected as the 53rd mayor of Charlotte and served seven terms through 2009. He was the youngest to be elected mayor of Charlotte at the age of 39. During that time, he was also a member of the United States Homeland Security Advisory Council (2002 to 2006).
Following his success in Charlotte, McCrory became the first Republican to be elected governor since 1988. McCrory failed to win reelection against Democrat Roy Cooper in 2016 in a tight race, losing by a very narrow margin of just 10,277 votes.
“I might add, the elections that I’ve won, I’ve never I’ve never been an election in a gerrymandered district” McCrory said. “I’ve always been in elections in which it’s been pretty evenly divided, and I had to appeal to people across the political spectrum, conservative and independent alike.
About a year after leaving the governor’s mansion, McCrory began co-hosting a radio show with Bo Thompson on WBT. While co-hosting, the show shot up to No. 1 for its time slot and stayed there for seven straight months during 2020. McCrory left the show earlier this year after announcing his candidacy.
On his experience as an elected official in North Carolina, McCrory said he’s “the only one who’s actually had to call the National Guard to put down Antifa.”
“There’s no one on Capitol Hill is who has called the National Guard. I bring an “outside Washington” perspective. I’m not a Washington Insider,” McCrory said. I’m someone who has actually solve problems in North Carolina, and I’m going to bring that problem-solving skill to Washington, D.C. where it’s desperately needed at the point in time because Washington is a mess.”
The 64-year-old former governor also said there’s a lack of fiscal responsibility in Washington and pointed to the unemployment deficit he inherited from former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue when he was elected as governor.
“When I was governor, I inherited the fourth highest unemployment in the United States. (North Carolina),” said McCrory. “And I made the tough decision to lower unemployment compensation to get people back to work.”
McCrory added that “now that’s the new thing to do among governors” but that he did it eight years ago. He said he strongly disagrees with one of his opponents and even some legislators’ recommendation on unemployment, stating “they now want to use government money to pay people to go to work.”
“I don’t want to grow the nanny state. I want to reduce the nanny state. It’s one of the most ridiculous ideas that I’ve ever seen come from both Democrats and Republicans – That is to pay people unemployment to take it a bonus to take a job,” said McCrory. “That’s not government’s job to make people do something they ought to do anyway.”
McCrory said he’s been making “tough decisions a long time” and offered an anecdote related to when he used to referee high school and college basketball games.
“In fact, I even refereed Michael Jordan, I used to tell the story many years ago, many times, where I had the courage to call traveling on Michael Jordan. That’s the kind of courage we need in Washington, D.C.,” said McCrory. “It might be the short-term unpopular thing, but in the long run, it’s what’s best for our nation and we need more people to run for office not interested in the next election, but the next generation. And I’ve done just that in every job that I’ve run for.”
On former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of one of his opponents, Ted Budd, McCrory said people are going to look at the candidates, not who endorses the candidates and that Trump received some bad advice from Trump’s former chief of staff but did not mention former U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows by name.
“I think sadly, the president got some bad advice from his former chief of staff again. And I think it was a mistake to pick, not only the wrong candidate, but it would be a mistake was made to get involved in our North Carolina political system. The people, the people make their own choice,” McCrory said.
“And I think they’ll see, I’m simply the best candidate. Not only for the job at the win, the general election. And I’m confident we’re going to win the primary by a large percentage were about 30 points up in the most recent polls,” McCrory added. “So, we’re going to do just fine and I think it’s just going to be noise.”
A recent survey conducted by Meeting Street Insights showed that while McCrory has far more name recognition, Budd gained a 19 point lead over McCrory and a 38 point lead over former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker following Trump’s endorsement.
“Old campaign trick used by candidates who are unknown. Issues are what voters will care about when it comes to casting ballots,” McCrory campaign consultant Paul Shumaker told North State Journal in response to the poll.
When asked how he likes to decompress from all of the political activity, he’s said he’s a big swimmer. and loves to swim in lakes.
“I’ve got a little place at Lake James in McDowell County and I’m a big swimmer,” said McCrory. “I love swimming with and that’s where I get my relaxation from, just a nice easy swim in the middle of the lake by myself.”
McCrory also said he is a big dog lover and that he and his wife have a passion for rescue dogs. He told North State Journal he and his wife were grieving over the recent loss of their dog Moe, who had to be put down.