Under the Dome

Dome: McCrory’s Commerce proposal flashes back to 1988

April 10, 2013 

In 1988, Gov. Jim Martin called the replacement of the Department of Commerce with a public-private partnership “an incredibly dumb and dangerous idea.” The proposal came from Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan, a Democrat and Martin’s opponent in the governor’s race.

Flash forward to April 8, 2013, and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposal for revamping Commerce into, you guessed it, a public-private partnership.

Here’s what Jordan proposed: an N.C. Economic Development Corp. that would be run by a panel of private citizens appointed by the governor.

At a rally in Charlotte, Jordan said, “In the early 1980s, North Carolina was recruiting one out of every three new industries that located in the South. But ladies and gentlemen, it is now 1988. Times are changing, and now it is time for North Carolina to change as well.”

In dismissing the idea, Martin cited the state’s No. 1 ranking in industrial recruitment, and said, “I think he just wants to risk all of that simply to show that he has a new idea, that he has a different style, a different, what he calls hands-on, approach to mine. While we are seeing the kind of success, the kind of economic growth that North Carolina is experiencing right now, I would hope he would keep his hands off.”

McCrory’s proposal shifts Commerce’s economic development functions to a taxpayer funded nonprofit governed by a board of directors that would be led by the governor and include several state legislators as well as businessmen.

At a news conference Monday in Burlington, McCrory said, “The fact of the matter is we have got to look at a better way of doing things. … Right now, it’s a competitive world for jobs. We have to do it better.”

McCrory ad campaign won, too

If you thought Republican Pat McCrory had a pretty good TV advertising campaign last year, it was because he did.

His campaign recently won the Bronze award for the third-best Republican TV ad campaign in the country last year as judged by the American Association of Political Consultants as part of the POLLIE Awards. The ad campaign featured positive ads, shot in a diner or in an empty warehouse, in which McCrory talked about how things were not going well in the state, and that as mayor of Charlotte he knew how to bring people together to improve the state.

The ad campaign was produced by Strategic Perceptions, a Los Angeles firm headed by Fred Davis, who has run TV ads for George Bush’s and John McCain’s presidential campaigns. Locally, he did ads for Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s 2008 re-election campaign and for Patrick Ballantine’s 2004 gubernatorial campaign.

Working with Davis on the McCrory TV campaign was Brian Nick, a veteran local political operative who now works for Moore & Van Allen law firm.

Hagan raising cash for 2014

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan reports that she raised $1.6 million during the first quarter of the year for her re-election effort. The Greensboro Democrat ended the quarter with $2.7 million cash on hand.

“Sen. Hagan’s strong fundraising quarter shows that she is building the grass-roots momentum from all across North Carolina that elected her in 2008 and that will re-elect her in 2014,” said Preston Elliot, her campaign manager.

Hagan’s seat is seen as one of the more vulnerable next year. She has been the focus of ads by the National Rifle Association and by a gun-control group headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Staff writer Rob Christensen

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