Reporting from the Associated Press laid out the multitude of dilemmas former Governor Pat McCrory finds himself in as he “struggles to position himself” in a Republican field of candidates that supported overturning the 2020 election results, and issues from his past that are still haunting him today.
Read more from the Associated Press about mounting challenges in the way of McCrory’s attempt at a “political comeback.”
- RACE TO THE RIGHT: The Republican base has changed since his time as mayor of Charlotte and now he finds himself “contending with hard-right politicians.” As the article notes: “That has forced McCrory to try to win over the Trump loyalists who took over the party in his absence. That hasn’t been easy for the former governor, who once said Trump was “destroying democracy.”
- TRUMP TROUBLES: McCrory was “rebuffed” by Trump after he lost his re-election for Governor and got passed over for a job in the administration because of his past criticism of Trump. According to reporting, “the day after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, McCrory argued that Trump lost ‘because of personality.’” None of this has “endear[ed] him to the new wave of Trump loyalists in the state.”
- HB2 HISTORY: Most people know McCrory for signing hateful, transphobic legislation that ultimately sank his political career. NCDP Chair Bobbie Richardson told the AP: “We remember HB2, and we remember the damage that it did to our state and the loss of jobs…I don’t think that people are going to forget, and I know we as Democrats are not going to allow people to forget.” He still “declines to say whether he regrets signing the measure.”
“Halloween may be over, but the skeletons in McCrory’s closet are on full display,” said NCDP spokesperson Kate Frauenfelder. “McCrory’s desperate attempt at a political comeback in this circus of a Republican primary will require him to walk a very tight rope as he tries to win over a party that may have moved on without him.”
Associated Press: Ex-NC Gov. McCrory eyes political comeback with Senate bid
- In the rankings of political upsets from November 2016, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s defeat was a distant second. Still, when the Republican best known for signing the transgender bathroom bill narrowly lost at the same time Donald Trump comfortably won the state, it left many stunned.
- Now, McCrory, a rising star of the pre-Trump GOP, is trying to mount a political comeback in a post-Trump era. McCrory is vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, contending with hard-right politicians who may not have had a shot several years ago and struggling to position himself amid a debate contorted by Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
- The primary fight for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Richard Burr is one of several across the country that will test Trump’s influence. The former president upended the race this summer by endorsing U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, a conservative who backed his attempt to overturn the election results. That has forced McCrory to try to win over the Trump loyalists who took over the party in his absence.
- That hasn’t been easy for the former governor, who once said Trump was “destroying democracy.” He has softened his criticism of Trump — and tried to focus his message on electability.
- But McCrory’s career unexpectedly turned with passage of House Bill 2, legislation he signed in 2016 that required transgender people to use the public restroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. The bill became a flashpoint in the still-burgeoning transgender rights movement.
- McCrory, a religious conservative, defended the measure, even as several large corporations and sports leagues relocated events to other states. The bill was partially repealed in 2017 by McCrory’s Democratic successor, Roy Cooper.
- “We remember HB2, and we remember the damage that it did to our state and the loss of jobs,” said Bobbie Richardson, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. “I don’t think that people are going to forget, and I know we as Democrats are not going to allow people to forget.”
- McCrory now declines to say whether he regrets signing the measure. His campaign also declined to share McCrory’s attitudes on a bill Republicans floated this year but ultimately did not pursue that would have prevented transgender girls and women from competing in sports designed for those who were born female.
- Days after his concession, McCrory interviewed for a position in the Trump administration, offering to provide his expertise about infrastructure and transportation. But he was rebuffed. McCrory said he later learned Trump didn’t appreciate his criticism after the “Access Hollywood” video surfaced showing Trump making lewd comments about women.
- McCrory says he wouldn’t take it back: “I believe what I said, which I said basically, many of us, including Mr. Trump, need to have their mouth washed out with soap.”
- After his defeat, McCrory went on to host a popular talk radio show about politics. The show kept him in Republicans’ ears, but it didn’t necessarily endear him to the new wave of Trump loyalists in the state.
- Two days after the 2020 election, McCrory pronounced his belief that Trump lost. On Nov. 23, McCrory accused Trump of “destroying democracy” through his efforts to overturn legitimate election results. The day after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, McCrory argued that Trump lost “because of personality.”
- Since announcing his candidacy this year and quitting his radio show, McCrory has dialed back his criticisms of Trump.