Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory made history Tuesday, becoming the first N.C. Republican elected governor in 20 years and the second from Mecklenburg County (Jim Martin was the first). He is also the first Charlotte resident to become governor in 92 years.
The history-making doesn’t end there. With McCrory’s election, Republicans will now control the governor’s office, the N.C. Senate and the N.C. House for the first time since the 1880s. Helping entrench that control, longtime Mecklenburg N.C. Rep. Martha Alexander lost her bid for re-election to Republican newcomer Rob Bryan in a newly redrawn House District 88 that favored Republicans. And Republican Charles Jeter defeated Democrat Robin Bradford for new House District 92.
That kind of power concentration can lead to misuse and abuse, as we have seen in the past with Democratic regimes. The Republican-run N.C. legislature of the past two years has already shown a propensity to put ideology too often above good governance and the best interests of N.C. residents.
We’re counting on the Pat McCrory we saw and liked as mayor of Charlotte to help change that dynamic. The moderate Republican who understood the challenges facing a growing city, did his homework and applied that knowledge to tackling the area’s problems is the kind of governor this state needs as it fights its way back to good economic health. N.C. has the nation’s 5th highest jobless rate.
The state also needs the moderate McCrory who could work successfully with Democrats – and who would alienate his own party by fighting for what he believed in even when it conflicted with party orthodoxy. This state and its residents will be served best by a governor who will stand up for them, not be a rubberstamp for legislative leaders or ideology.
As we said in endorsing him last month, McCrory has a record of taking the long view and making wise investments for the future. He was the region’s leading advocate for light rail. But we were disappointed when McCrory took some hard-right stands during this campaign. We hope his progressive outlook will return. We also hope he will resist the urge to push a social agenda, or agree with legislative leaders wasting time on such an agenda.
Serious challenges face this state. McCrory can be the leader North Carolina needs to effectively deal with them. This is a much bigger job than he had as mayor of Charlotte, but we think he’s up to the task.
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