Politics & Government

McCrory lobbies for Palin visit

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee for governor, may have stayed out of camera range when President Bush came to Raleigh but McCrory's happy to line up a photo opportunity with their party's nominee for vice president.

McCrory said his campaign and allies are lobbying for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to visit North Carolina on McCrory's behalf.

"Many efforts are being coordinated right now," McCrory said this week. His eagerness to appear in public with Palin, who has captured much of the political news for the past two weeks, contrasts with President Bush's visit for a private fundraiser for McCrory in June. The two did not appear in public together.

Either Palin or U.S. Sen. John McCain likely will visit the state given that McCrory's race is a priority for the Republican Governors Association and that Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama is investing heavily in North Carolina, traditionally a safe Republican state.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's campaign also would like to bring Palin in to the state, but spokesman Hogan Gidley said he was unaware of what efforts were being made to arrange an event.

McCrory lightheartedly said he was arranging a Palin visit before she ever rocketed to the national stage. Less than two weeks before U.S. Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, tapped Palin as his running mate, McCrory received a call from Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.

"She said, 'Sarah and I want to come down and help you get elected,' " McCrory recalled, saying he readily accepted.

He called Lingle after Palin was named to the veep slot on the Republican ticket.

"She said, 'Sarah's schedule has changed,' " McCrory said, laughing.