NC Governor’s Race: Big Primary Victory and Connect NC Win Give General Election Advantage to McCrory March 16, 2016 Vol. IX, No. 4 4:13 pm Connect NC wins 2-to-1; McCrory wins 82% On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory seized the advantage in his race for a second term with
NC Governor’s Race: Big Primary Victory and Connect NC Win Give General Election Advantage to McCrory
March 16, 2016 Vol. IX, No. 4 4:13 pm
Connect NC wins 2-to-1; McCrory wins 82%
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory seized the advantage in his race for a second term with an 82% Republican primary victory and a 2-to-1 win (66%-to-34%) for Connect NC, a $2 billion infrastructure bond.
McCrory’s primary rout erases any doubt about his solid support among Republicans. But even more important is the political value of the Connect NC bond win to his race in the General Election with Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic Party nominee.
Voters in 76 of 100 counties will see the Connect NC bond money being spent locally. Investments include well-regarded institutions like the UNC System, the NC Community College System, state parks, National Guard, water/sewer projects, the state zoo and agriculture research.
As accomplished and capable as Roy Cooper is, the 2016 race for governor is a referendum on Gov. McCrory’s first term. Now, thanks to an improving economy, his leadership on the budget and Connect NC, he has plenty of feathers in his cap to impress persuadable voters.
Under McCrory’s leadership, the unemployment rate has steadily improved, taxes have been cut, a $2.5 billion unemployment insurance debt to the federal government has been paid, a $1 billion rainy day fund has been set aside, and K-12 funding has been increased.
However, those accomplishments have a partisan taint. Deals between a Republican governor and a Republican-led legislature. The unique political value of Connect NC is that it had overwhelming bipartisan support.
Swing State Crossover Appeal
Pat McCrory’s seven terms as Mayor of the City of Charlotte seasoned him well to lead an urban dominant swing state. His successful leadership of the Connect NC bond referendum adds to his potential for winning crossover independent-leaning Democratic voters statewide.
McCrory understands that quality of life not only depends on government investment in urban priorities like public transportation, performing arts centers and sports arenas, but it also depends on the state’s investment in broader priorities like the UNC System, NC Community College System, state parks, National Guard, the state zoo and agriculture research.
Look for the Connect NC bond referendum victory to have an immediate positive impact on McCrory’s job approval in public opinion polls. More importantly, it will make it increasingly difficult for Democratic nominee Roy Cooper to make the case that only Democrats are visionaries willing to make progressive investments in the quality of life of all North Carolinians.
Granted, Roy Cooper’s latest report to the State Board of Elections shows him with $5.7 million Cash on Hand compared to McCrory’s $4.3 million. However, it’s early in the fundraising cycle; and, it will take a far greater advantage than he currently has to persuade voters that there is a compelling reason to change governors in light of McCrory’s first-term accomplishments.
Southern Democrats have an Inherent Disadvantage
All Southern states have Republican governors except two, Virginia and Louisiana.
David Vitter, the GOP nominee for governor in Louisiana last fall, lost because he got caught with prostitutes. His telephone number was found in the “D.C. Madam’s” client book.
Virginia has a Democrat in the governor’s mansion because the GOP radical right took over the state convention and nominated Ken Cuccinelli, an arch conservative that the establishment refused to support financially. Literally. Just two outside SuperPACs (gun control and environmental issues), spent more money against Cuccinelli than he raised all year.
Not true in North Carolina. North Carolina’s GOP establishment is well behind Gov. Pat McCrory. And, after an 82% win in the Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, it’s obvious that the rank-and-file is also fairly satisfied with McCrory.
The bottom line is that a Republican incumbent governor in a Southern state with an improving economy and a successful first term is in a far greater position to parlay his power and influence into a political advantage than a challenger with an inherent disadvantage.
The inherent disadvantage of all Southern Democratic candidates is that the Democratic Party continues to cling to 20th century leaders and ideas as if they are sacred relics.
Democrats in North Carolina are not the enlightened party they once were. And, they have no hope of becoming the enlightened party until they say goodbye to the glory days of yore.
That inherent disadvantage is why Democrats continue to lose the South, and why they will not be of much help to Cooper; that is unless they change with respect for the new Southern voter.
Thanks to an improving economy, a record of accomplishment that now includes the $2 billion Connect NC infrastructure bond, coupled with a visionary plan, plenty of money, personal likability and crossover appeal among independent-leaning Democrats, McCrory begins the General Election race with a decisive advantage in the race for Governor of North Carolina.
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