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If Roy Cooper is a career politician, what is Pat McCrory?

Roy Cooper was elected to the N.C. House at age 29. Here he is as chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee in 1998.
Roy Cooper was elected to the N.C. House at age 29. Here he is as chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee in 1998. AP File Photo

Backers of career politician Pat McCrory are trying to win voters over by calling Roy Cooper a career politician.

Especially in the year of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, “career politician” is one of the worst epithets you can hang on a person. And in Cooper’s case, the label is accurate. But do Republicans think voters will forget that McCrory is one too? If anything, the effort might just remind voters of McCrory’s own status.

The Republican Governors Association began airing its first TV ad in the N.C. governor’s race today, attacking Cooper’s record on taxes. The short press release announcing the ad features the words “career politician” five times. Other press releases emphasize Cooper’s status as a career politician. The RGA even has a website called 30yearsofcooper.com.

Cooper, the N.C. attorney general who is running against McCrory for governor, is clearly a career politician. He was president of the Young Democrats at UNC and was elected to the N.C. House at age 29. He stayed in the House and Senate for 14 years, then was elected attorney general four times, serving 16 years. Now he wants to be governor and would presumably run for reelection in 2020. When it’s all said and done, he could be in elected office for 38 straight years.

The problem for Republicans is McCrory is one, too, and voters know it. He ran for student-body president in college not once but twice. McCrory, who turns 60 this year, was elected to the Charlotte City Council at age 33. He spent six years there, then a record 14 years as mayor. He lost his bid for governor in 2008 then ran again in 2012 and seeks reelection now. A career politician, to be sure, even if he dabbled in the private sector here and there.

North Carolina’s governor’s race pits a career politician against a career politician. If you don’t want to vote for a career politician, your only option is Libertarian Lon Cecil, who is not one. Otherwise, you’ll have to base your vote on something else, whether the RGA likes it or not. -- Taylor Batten

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