Under the Dome

NC governor’s race among most competitive, Politico says

Governor Pat McCrory talks to the assembled supporters as he launches his reelection campaign during an event at Salem One in Kernersville, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.
Governor Pat McCrory talks to the assembled supporters as he launches his reelection campaign during an event at Salem One in Kernersville, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. ehyman@newsobserver.com

North Carolina will have the most competitive governor’s race in the country that features an incumbent, according to a Politico article published Monday.

Politico ranked the 12 governor’s seats up for grabs next year, using what it calls “micro and macro” factors such the incumbent governor’s popularity and demographic shifts.

North Carolina’s race, likely between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic attorney general Roy Cooper, ranked second behind West Virginia, where Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin isn’t seeking another term.

The article notes that unseating an incumbent governor “remains one of the hardest things to do in politics” but says it could happen in North Carolina and Indiana.

Politico notes that McCrory has “mediocre” approval ratings, and polls show him in a dead heat with Cooper. The national political website also notes that a scandal involving prison contracts for a McCrory campaign donor could impact the outcome.

“If that scandal develops further, it could turn into a rare fireable offense for voters,” reporter Kevin Robillard wrote.

The N.C. Democratic Party was quick to highlight the article, which is currently only available to Politico’s paying subscribers. “Politico ranks McCrory nation’s most vulnerable governor” was the alternate headline offered by Democrats.

Meanwhile, McCrory has been counting down to New Year’s Day on Twitter by listing highlights of his first term – racking up dozens of tweets since Saturday. Most involve changes in the state’s economy and tax policy.

Democrats weighed in with their own assessment of McCrory’s term.

“Gov. McCrory wants to re-write his record,” N.C. Democratic Party spokesman Ford Porter said Monday. “Given his low poll numbers, weak fundraising, and recognition as the most vulnerable incumbent in America, that makes sense. But the facts are clear: Under Pat McCrory, middle class families are paying higher taxes without making more money.”

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