Maybe you canâ€™t stand Pat, but former Governor McCrory could be future Senator McCrory.
When McCrory announced heâ€™ll run for the Senate next year, many of my fellow Democrats laughed â€“ and pounced. So did Republicans.
Democrats dismissed him as the Governor who signed into law House Bill 2, the controversial transgender â€œbathroom bill,â€ and then became the first North Carolina governor to lose reelection.
Another Republican running for the Senate seat, former Congressman Mark Walker, attacked him saying: â€œWith taking back the Senate majority hinging on our success in North Carolina, why would we gamble on Pat McCrory â€” a career politician who has lost more statewide races than heâ€™s won?â€
McCrory lost to Bev Perdue in the 2008 governorâ€™s race, then soundly defeated Lt. Governor Walter Dalton in 2012 after Perdue decided â€“ late in the campaign season â€“ not to run again.
McCrory took shots from both parties because he interviewed for jobs in the Trump Administration after losing narrowly to Governor Roy Cooper in 2016, but didnâ€™t get appointed.
Walker said, â€œIf Pat wasnâ€™t good enough for Trumpâ€™s administration, heâ€™s not good enough for our state.â€
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said McCrory â€œcouldnâ€™t even get hired by the Trump administration.â€
But he could get elected Senator.
He enters the race with an advantage in name recognition, as his own campaignâ€™s poll boasted. A Republican primary opponent will need a lot of money to overcome that.
McCrory has been mayor of Charlotte and governor. He has automatic stature.
Critics scoffed when he called himself an â€œoutsider,â€ but thatâ€™s smart positioning. His campaign cited â€œthe strength McCrory has as someone who has not served in Congress but instead has made executive-level decisions as a proven conservative.â€
In other words, heâ€™s not a Washington swamp creature like Walker and another Congressman who might run, Ted Budd.
Lara Trump, Donald Trumpâ€™s daughter-in-law, also might run. But why would she give up New York, Palm Beach and a Fox News gig? Plus, does Donald Trump want to risk his brand before 2024?
McCrory had a media gig too. He hosted â€œThe Pat McCrory Showâ€ on WBT radio. His campaign says that was â€œthe top-rated talk radio show in Charlotte.â€
Itâ€™s not â€œThe Apprentice,â€ but itâ€™s a big media market, especially in a Republican primary.
And heâ€™s been a regular on NBCâ€™s â€œMeet the Press.â€
Itâ€™s noteworthy that McCroryâ€™s announcement didnâ€™t mention Trump. You have to dig deep in his campaign website to find a mention of Trump. The former President is obviously a plus in the primary, but may be poison with Independents in a general election.
Senator Richard Burr, who is vacating the seat, got censured by North Carolina Republicans when he voted to impeach Trump over the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Paul Shumaker, an experienced Republican consultant who worked with both Senators Burr and Thom Tillis, is handling McCroryâ€™s Senate race. Shumaker can provide the skilled professional hand that McCrory lost when Jack Hawke died after the 2012 election.
If McCrory wins the primary, history favors him. Republicans have won the last four Senate races in North Carolina and six of the last seven. Since the two-party era began in 1972, Republicans have won 13 Senate races and Democrats, only four.
The last North Carolinian to be elected both Governor (1960) and Senator (1986) was Terry Sanford.
Now, I knew Terry Sanford. Terry Sanford is a hero of mine. Pat McCrory is no Terry Sanford. But he could win Sanfordâ€™s old Senate seat next year â€“ and be both a Governor and a Senator.
McCroryâ€™s announcement statement:
McCroryâ€™s campaign poll: