Gov. Pat McCrory used a national TV interview to defend the state’s controversial new elections law, saying “it’s not as divisive as the national media puts it.”
McCrory appeared on MSNBC’s ‘The Daily Rundown’ with Chuck Todd from Arizona, where McCrory is attending the Republican Governors Association meeting. (Watch the interview below, starting at the 6:10 mark.)
Todd called North Carolina “ground zero” in the voting rights fight and asked McCrory why he pushed a law that included a voter ID requirement.
McCrory said the voter ID provision has the support of 80 percent of North Carolinians. An Elon University poll in September put it at 72 percent.
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But the governor exaggerated support for the law as a whole. The Elon poll found that more than half don’t support eliminating same-day voter registration or shortening early voting from 17 days to 10 days, two other provisions in the law that McCrory said most support.
In the six-minute interview, McCrory emphasized that shortening the calendar is balanced by requiring voting places to be open longer hours. Democrats proposed adding the extended hours to the bill before it won approval. “I think it’s much ado about nothing,” McCrory said of the criticism about the law, which is being challenged by the U.S. Justice Department.
McCrory also echoed the mantra from the RGA conference that the party’s next leader (a k a presidential nominee) ought to come from the states. “I think the leadership in our nation needs to come out of the states because we in the governorships are willing to make the tough decisions that frankly steps on the toes of both the right and the left,” he said, comparing himself numerous times to some of those being considered for higher office, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
When questioned about Republican mayoral candidate Edwin Peacock’s suggestion that McCrory cost him a victory in November, McCrory didn’t reject the premise. He reiterated that he has had to make some tough decisions and that has spurred critics on both sides. “I do have some anti-Pat McCrory from Republicans and Democrats,’ he said. ‘Our polls are coming back up.”