North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has a lot of work to do in the next 28 days if he hopes to keep his job. Roy Cooper, McCrory’s Democratic competitor, currently has a six-point lead over McCrory in the election, according a Bloomberg Politics poll. One of the things helping Cooper in his campaign is his unwillingness to defend North Carolina against HB2 legal challenges.
Todd Collins, director of WCU’s public policy institute and a professor of political science and public affairs, spoke about the potential future of McCrory’s political career.
“If he wins, he’s able to correct some of the issues and survive some of the scandals and he’s got four more years to do it. He could come out looking really good four years from now,” said Collins. “If he loses, there’s not a really strong track record of people that have lost the governor’s race and gone on to do great things in North Carolina. Not that he can’t, but I don’t know where you go from being a one-term governor in North Carolina.”
McCrory, who has been serving as governor since 2013, has encountered a number of scandals and issues during his term. House Bill 2, which has become synonymous with the bad taste that North Carolina is leaving in everyone’s mouths these days, is speculated by The Washington Post to be the turning point that costs McCrory the election. According to a poll by Elon University, McCrory’s reelection numbers immediately after HB2 began making national news were the worst they had been up to that point.
Another major pitfall of McCrory’s administration was the coal ash spill and the subsequent scandal. McCrory’s past as an employee of Duke Energy has encouraged speculation regarding his administration’s apparent misleading of homeowners regarding well water safety near coal ash pits owned by the company.
McCrory’s reelection outlook has also been damaged by his association with his chief legal counsel, Bob Stephens, who is either very incompetent or covering up for McCrory’s legal and ethical errors while in office. There have been multiple incidences of numbers going unreported on government forms, and Stephens continues to claim that he ‘misunderstood’ how the forms worked. Its unclear whether Stephens is taking the blame for mistakes made by McCrory or not, but the scandal looks bad on the administration regardless.
“McCrory could run again in the future, but parties don’t like to go back to the well of somebody that loses. A losing candidate, at this level, it would be tough to come back from,” said Collins.