When you ask who is the biggest sore loser in the state of North Carolina the answer is pretty simple – Cam Newton. Just kidding I love Cam, and even if he does pout from time to time he at least told us up front. The true answer to this question is Governor Pat McCrory.
Governor McCrory finally conceded the election to Roy Cooper on Dec. 5th making him the first sitting governor of North Carolina to ever lose a 4 year term re-election bid (Charles Manly lost his re-election as a Whig back in 1850, but then the governor’s term was only 2 years). Yet that will surely go down as one of the lesser known facts in comparison to his actions as governor which inevitably led to his defeat. McCrory seen his approval rating across the state drop a staggering 15 points in his first year in office and hasn’t recovered much since. When Bev Purdue had similar numbers she actually made the call not to run for re-election, which is what set the stage for McCrory’s tenure.
North Carolina has a very unique voting history – since 1968 it’s only voted for a Democratic President two times (Jimmy Carter 1976, Barack Obama 2008). Yet in the same span of time the state has voted consistently for Democrats to hold state offices. As a matter of fact McCrory is only the 3rd Republican governor in the state in over 100 years. When McCrory won election in 2012 along side the Republican party controlling both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly, it became the first time since the Reconstruction Era in 1870 the Republican Party had this much power of the state’s government. If only we knew then what was going to happen next. When his term began he hit the ground running, signing policies to law that left a vast number of North Carolinian voters scratching their heads.
When your state has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country, what do you do Pat? Cut unemployment. In doing so McCrory prevented 170,000 of his states citizens from emergency benefits extended by the federal government.
The Affordable Care Act offers a federal expansion of the Medicaid program to cover more low income residents, how’d you handle that Pat? Opt out of Medicaid expansion. Once again ignoring the disadvantaged in the state, this time to the tune of denying 500,000 people health coverage.
Pat McCrory made a promise to voters prior to his election for Governor that he wouldn’t sign any bills that restricted abortion. Take a guess what Pat does? Signs House Bill 465 further restricting abortion.
McCrory was employed by Duke Energy for 29 years, which showed in how he handled the disastrous coal ash spill in the Dan River. After giving his former employer what many labelled a “sweetheart deal,” he mysteriously forgot that he still owned stock with the company quickly selling it afterwards saying it was a simple mistake.
Pat has also aided and abetted the Republican legislature with severely damaging the state’s public school system, please read THIS. Per-pupil spending has dropped 14.5% while there’s been a push towards school voucher programs to put government funds in to private schools (rather than public ones). Even to schools who openly discriminate.
Pat’s clearly been in over his head since reaching Raleigh. There’s so many failures that can be covered from his short span in office I could go on forever before I reached the “big ones.” The first “big one” we’ll revisit is the Voter ID law that was struck down by a federal judge for targeting African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.” The law was made after Republicans specifically requested racial data to see which areas changing the law would most likely affect African-Americans. Not that this comes as a surprise, this is the same Republican Legislature that recently had their map of the state’s 13 congressional districts as well the 170 state legislative districts overturned by a federal court for being racially gerrymandered.
The other “big one” which is probably the more popular of the two – the infamous HB2 bill more commonly known as the bathroom bill. This could be exactly what sealed the deal for Pat to lose this election. Since being signed into law HB2 has caused the states economy to lose 1750 jobs and $77 million of revenue. It’s the sole reason the NBA All-Star game was pulled from Charlotte costing their economy an estimated $100 million. North Carolina is known for “Tobacco Road” and being one of the biggest states for college basketball. The NCAA pulled its championship games from the state, which actually extended to other sports as well. Then there’s the fine print: the bill also blocked all municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination policies (allowing businesses to openly discriminate against possible customers) as well as raising the minimum wage. Only 30% of voters in the state supported HB2, so it clearly was a major factor in his loss.
The Battle for Governor
We’ve finally reached my favorite part of the story, where Pat McCrory becomes “the biggest loser.” As election night concluded Roy Cooper had a lead slightly over 4,000 votes and appeared to have squeaked by with a victory on a night other Republican candidates fared rather well in the state. Under North Carolina law if the margin of victory is under 10k a recount can be officially requested. Cooper declared victory shortly afterwards but McCrory didn’t concede.
The Republican party tried desperately to enhance the possibility of a 2nd term for Pat. In a state with practically zero history of voter fraud what is Pat’s go to strategy? Widespread accusation of voter fraud in over HALF the counties in the state. Pat had the audacity to say Cooper beat him because “dead people and felons” were tallied in the final count. He also accused Bladen County of a massive fraud scheme which yielded zero results. After being denied repetitively by Republican controlled state boards over and over again, he tried to fixate on Durham County. However when challenging their results, it ended with Pat gaining ZERO, and Cooper adding six more votes to his total.
After undermining the state’s voting process, legally fighting as many results as possible, challenging election boards controlled by his own party in countless counties, denying the state election board lawyer appointments, Cooper’s lead finally rose above the 10k threshold and we seen “Crybaby McCrory” concede. Maybe Pat thought making it appear that widespread fraud occurred would give his Voter ID law some traction in the future? Instead he ended up disgracing the state’s voting process, himself, and his entire party in what will surely be remembered as one of the biggest “hissy fits” in state history.
Thought it was over didn’t you? So did we. In an unprecedented turn of events it appears Pat McCrory is going to use a special legislative session – which is supposed to be for Hurricane Matthew victims – to push two new state Supreme Court justices in before he packs his bags. Why is this such a big deal? In the November election the court power swung in favor of the Democrats 4-3 when Mike Morgan defeated Bob Edmunds for the seat. So as a response, Republicans are considering adding two more seats which would allow McCrory to pick two new justices and swing the court back in the favor of Republicans 5-4. You can’t make this stuff up people. The worse part about it is the sneaky maneuver they plan on using to accomplish it, using Hurricane Matthew victims as a patsy for their own self interest. I don’t know for sure if that is what they intend to do (no one does), but I guarantee that some how and some way the NC GOP figures out a way to manipulate their governing power and prove they are incapable of running our state.
I can’t honestly say I’m surprised, once again. The already tarnished legacy of McCrory takes a final step of indecency to remind voters just how deplorable he was on his way out. These kind of tactics that have such a lack of respect for democracy are exactly what’s wrong with today’s flawed political system. You’d think in the midst of all this there would be no foreseeable political future for a person of this nature, but you’d be wrong. Rumors are circulating that McCrory may actually be up for a cabinet position in the Donald Trump administration. At this point though, I’ll just be glad to see him finally leave Raleigh.