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Monday, May 28, 2012

RGA Pours Big Money Into North Carolina For Pat McCrory; Bob McDonnell Endorses

Republican governors convene, stake claims early on NC

A group of Republican governors and party donors is currently meeting privately in Charlotte.

They are holding a policy summit on the same turf Democrats will use to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term.

The Republican governors did not allow any media access to their meetings Thursday.

When Democratic governors met in Charlotte recently, they locked out the media, too.
But the Republican presence in Charlotte is a clear signal that the city will be ground zero in a tooth-and-nail battle for voters in North Carolina.

The governors were hidden away inside the luxury resort at Ballantyne, but rising star Bob McDonnell, the governor of Virginia and a potential vice-presidential choice, surfaced Thursday afternoon.

When he toured a Coca-Cola plant, it was with Pat McCrory, who was campaigning for governor.

“I’m here today to strongly endorse Pat McCrory for governor because I believe he’ll be a marvelous partner over these next couple of years,” McDonnell said.

Political experts said the endorsement for McCrory is part of a much larger strategy by Republicans to stamp their presence in Charlotte ahead of the Democratic National Convention.

Analyst Michael Bitzer said after losing the presidential race in North Carolina in 2008, it’s “game on” for Republicans.

“They read the tea leaves and they saw what happened when Obama came in with his grassroots and they’re making the claim early on, ‘This is going to be a competitive fight. Get ready for it,’” he said.

McCrory, who even lost his home town during the 2008 swell of support behind Obama, made it clear Thursday that he will not be caught off guard again.
“The fact of the matter is, the Obama machine is going to be very, very powerful in North Carolina and I’m not going to underestimate them,” he said.

Bitzer said voters should get used to the attention from both parties.

“It’s going to be money; it’s going to be resources; it’s going to be appearances. Everything’s going to be coming into this state,” Bitzer said.

Virginia’s governor, who heads the Republican Governor’s Association, promised the party will raise and spend what it takes to help McCrory in a battleground state that will continue to have a high profile through November.

Va. governor: "McCrory's a good bet to take state's top job"

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell became the latest high-profile GOP governor Thursday to boost Pat McCrory’s gubernatorial bid, saying North Carolina is “at the very top of the list” of states where Republicans stand a good chance of taking the governor’s mansion away from Democrats.

McDonnell, who appeared alongside McCrory at a Coca-Cola plant in Charlotte, follows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. All of them have come to North Carolina to campaign or raise money for the former Charlotte mayor.

Like the others, McDonnell is likely to be considered when presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picks his running mate.

But unlike the others, McDonnell heads the Republican Governors’ Association, which has already spent more than $800,000 on TV ads linking McCrory’s Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, to unpopular Gov. Bev Perdue.

Surrounded by cases of Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite, McDonnell said the RGA will continue to pour dollars into the state to help McCrory. He leads Dalton in two polls released this week – by 6 percentage points in one (by Public Policy Polling) and by 9 in another (by Rasmussen).

“Whatever we need to do to help Pat win, we will do,” McDonnell told local reporters after he and McCrory got a tour of the soft drink plant. “We rank this as one of the absolute top races in the country.”

Asked how much the RGA was willing to spend in North Carolina, McDonnell answered: “I have an idea, but I can’t tell you. We believe in Pat. We will be in it for the long haul. The climate is right for us to win.”

McCrory, who lost a close race to Perdue in 2008, contrasted Virginia’s 5.6 percent unemployment – the lowest in the Southeast – with North Carolina’s jobless rate of 9.7 percent, one of the highest in the country.

“We need to change the culture of North Carolina government and make it more job-friendly,” McCrory said. “I’m convinced it’s going to take an outsider – someone from outside the (Raleigh) beltline – to fix the state government.”

He pledged to follow the example of next-door neighbor McDonnell by “unleashing the private sector” through tax cuts, a reduction in regulations and a pact with Virginia and South Carolina to develop energy resources off their coasts.

Meanwhile, an advocacy group funded by the Democratic Governors Association, whose vice chair is Perdue, is expected to start helping Dalton some with a $217,000 TV ad buy that will go after McCrory.

In other remarks Thursday, both McCrory and McDonnell acknowledged that their respective states are likely to be among the 10 or so Electoral College battlegrounds in this year’s presidential election.

As to why Thursday’s event was held at a Coke plant, here’s one possible explanation: Republican McCrory will be the honorary starter at this year’s Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The grand marshal will be West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat.

“We usually try to have one (Democrat) and one (Republican) – to balance it out,” said Allison Patient, Coca-Cola Consolidated senior director of corporate affairs.


Today, Virginia Governor and RGA Chairman Bob McDonnell endorsed Pat McCrory and his bid to be North Carolina’s next Governor.

“I am proud to have Governor McDonnell’s endorsement,” said Pat McCrory. “There’s no better model for economic success and leadership at the state level than our neighbors to the North in Virginia. Under the Governor’s leadership, Virginia has added more than 110,000 net jobs and the unemployment rate has gone down more than 20 percent. That’s the kind of leadership I think we desperately need in North Carolina.“

“There is no gubernatorial race more important to the RGA this cycle than North Carolina,” said Governor McDonnell. “I know that with Pat McCrory’s leadership, North Carolina’s economy can get back on track. As Mayor of Charlotte, Pat saw the city add tens of thousands of jobs and as Governor, I know he will bring that same results-oriented leadership to Raleigh.”

The two leaders toured Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated’s Snyder Production Center in Charlotte before speaking with the press.

When Governor Bob McDonnell was sworn in as the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in January 2010, he inherited $6 billion in budget shortfalls. He brought Democrats and Republicans together to close the shortfall without a single tax increase, producing a $400 million surplus in the first fiscal year of his administration.

“Governor McDonnell has proven that government can work,” added Pat McCrory. “Both parties can work together to achieve real reform, promote economic growth while still making investments in key priorities like education.”

“The choice in this election is clear,” said McDonnell. ”North Carolina can elect someone who has been a part of North Carolina’s broken government for 16 years, or they can elect Pat McCrory – a leader who will bring an outsider’s perspective to Raleigh and fix North Carolina’s broken economy.”

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Sources: Facebook, McClatchy Newspapers, Pat, WSOC, Google Maps

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