Politics & Government

Did Pat McCrory really get laid off?

Gov. Pat McCrory listens to a question from the media during a press conference at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on Monday, November 16, 2015.
Gov. Pat McCrory listens to a question from the media during a press conference at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on Monday, November 16, 2015. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The campaign announcement video Gov. Pat McCrory released Tuesday starts with a jarring personal anecdote: He once lost his job.

“Long before I was elected governor, one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life was to come home after my job was eliminated and tell Ann I didn’t have a job anymore,” the governor says in the video.

When he took office in 2013, he continues, “I knew what too many families in our state were going through. Our state had the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country.”

But did McCrory spend months searching for a new job or relying on unemployment? Not quite.

The N.C. Democratic Party is taking issue with the anecdote and other statements in McCrory’s video, which officially launches his re-election campaign. McCrory kicked off his campaign Wednesday in Kernersville.

On Wednesday, the Democrats released what they described as a “fact check” of the video.

“Unlike most North Carolina families struggling to get ahead, when Pat McCrory was ‘laid off’ by Duke Energy, he was almost immediately re-hired and given a giant promotion,” the Democratic Party says.

Since McCrory first ran for governor in 2008, several news stories have explored his layoff experience. They note that McCrory’s resume doesn’t list any gaps in his decades of employment at Duke Energy.

According to a 2014 Greensboro News & Record story about McCrory’s Duke career, Duke eliminated his job as a recruiting manager in 1988, a few months before his wedding. Three weeks later, the company hired him back as its training director – a job with far more responsibility.

The Democrats are also taking issue with McCrory’s claim in the video that he’s helped put “more money back in the pockets of hard-working families.” They argue that he instead “raised taxes on the middle class while only offering breaks to giant corporations and those at the top.”

The governor has backed Republican legislators’ push to lower personal and corporate income tax rates, while eliminating tax credits and expanding the sales tax to some services.

Here’s the video:

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