Campaign Tracker

McCrory clinches key police endorsements

With Thursday’s backing from the state chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, Gov. Pat McCrory has sewn up endorsements from the three main law enforcement organizations in North Carolina.

The Police Benevolent Association announced its endorsement at a Raleigh hotel, where the Republican governor used the opportunity to needle his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, for failing to win that support despite being the state’s top law enforcement officer.

Previously, the Fraternal Order of Police and the N.C. Troopers Association announced their endorsements of the governor. The Fraternal Order of Police and the larger Police Benevolent Association are similar membership organizations that provide benefits and legal assistance.

The troopers’ group advocates on behalf of its members and serves as a liaison to State Highway Patrol management. The patrol is part of the McCrory administration.

The Benevolent Association has endorsed several statewide office-holders from both political parties this year.

McCrory criticized Cooper for problems in the State Crime Lab, including a persistent backlog of cases, shortcomings in the blood analysis and ballistics units, and for not disclosing a critical independent inspection in 2010 in order to “minimize the political damage to himself.”

The governor repeated his campaign theme that Cooper hasn’t done his job, calling it “a slap in the face to every law enforcement officer who puts their life on the line.”

McCrory boasted that earlier this year he had named someone with law enforcement experience rather than a political background to run the State Bureau of Investigation, Robert Schurmeier, and promised to keep politics out of law enforcement.

The governor rounded out the day’s theme by releasing a new TV commercial, this one featuring former state Trooper Michael Potts, who was shot five times during a traffic stop in Durham County in 2013. McCrory visited him in the hospital that night, and later had him and his wife over for dinner at the Executive Mansion. Potts left the patrol in April.

“Pat McCrory is law enforcement’s friend, and mine,” Potts says in the ad.

Cooper’s campaign has been endorsed by the Raleigh Police Protective Association, the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of North Carolina, and the National Association of Police Organizations.

“Attorney General Cooper has worked to provide our police officers with the support and training they need and he’s honored to have the support of law enforcement across the state,” campaign spokesman Ford Porter said. “It’s important to have leaders who will put the law first and work to bring our communities together in an open and accountable manner.”

McCrory did not take questions from reporters at the endorsement announcement.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO