Opinion: Daily Journal

McCrory’s Election Performance Defended

This week’s “Daily Journal” guest columnist is Jack Hawke, who was Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory’s campaign manager in the 2008 N.C. gubernatorial campaign. He is responding to last week’s Friday “Daily Journal.”

It is unbelievable that a self-described conservative would postulate that conservative voters in Mecklenburg County did not vote in the presidential and United States Senate races in order to express their dislike of Mayor Pat McCrory. True conservatives are patriots who care very deeply about our country. Elizabeth Dole is a conservative senator, and her defeat by a liberal Democrat may have a severe impact on national policies. Barack Obama is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate who promised to redistribute the wealth.

Do you really think conservative voters in Mecklenburg County said we don’t care if Dole loses or Obama becomes president as long as we can show that Pat McCrory a thing or two?

An article in the “Daily Journal” made that very argument. The hypothesis presented was that conservatives simply didn’t vote because they didn’t support McCrory. The writer cited Republican-leaning precincts with lower participation than the state average as proof of his argument. The argument might have some validity if the top race in the state was for governor. It wasn’t — and failure to vote had grave repercussions on a national level.

Actually McCrory did very well in Mecklenburg and the surrounding area when compared to the top of the ticket.

McCrory received more votes in Mecklenburg than the top of the ticket, outpolling McCain by 45,289 votes and Dole by 55,187. McCain lost Mecklenburg County by 99,686 and Dole by 105,395, while McCrory narrowly lost by 385 votes. It appears that there may have been a rejection of Republican candidates at the top of the ticket, but strong ticket splitting in favor of Mayor McCrory.

The true rejection of McCrory would have been better expressed by a big dropoff in conservative votes for governor or a strong showing by the Libertarian candidate. It simply didn’t happen — McCrory received more votes than other Republicans, and the Libertarian candidate received only 2 percent of the vote.

In the counties surrounding Mecklenburg, the mayor also outpolled the top of the ticket. In Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, and Union counties, McCain had 63.3 percent of the vote, while McCrory had 67.3 percent. In the Charlotte market, McCrory had 60 percent, with 66 percent in areas outside Mecklenburg.

There are a number of reasons for the poor showing for the Republican brand and all candidates running as Republicans. The downturn in the economy with an economic crisis just a few weeks before the election was a major factor. The low approval rating of the incumbent president was another. But the most significant factor in North Carolina was the unprecedented organization and spending by Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

The Obama campaign committed resources and money to this state early. Some reports have indicated that Obama had 400 to 500 paid staffers in North Carolina working on organization and voter turnout. The campaign targeted the most likely straight-ticket voters and made sure they voted early. The number of black and young voters was unprecedented. The Obama campaign had estimated that if 24 percent of the total vote was African-American they would carry the state. In fact, 27 percent of early voters statewide and 38 percent of the voters in Mecklenburg were African-American.

The liberals understand the significance of electing a liberal president and moving the Senate to a filibuster-proof liberal majority. They were motivated, well-financed, and united. Until conservatives can say the same, our country will continue sliding toward socialism.

While some conservatives did not vote for McCrory, that was not the cause of his defeat. The conservative cause can learn from studying the liberal organization employed in our state. There is no benefit when anyone spreads the word that conservatives stayed at home in a historic election year because of a candidate for governor. The significance of this election is too profound to accept the idea that conservatives “copped out.”