Thursday, November 08, 2007

Charlotte mayors' statewide: 0-6

If Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory runs for statewide office, he'd try to do something none of his four predecessors did - win.

McCrory, who was just re-elected Tuesday to a seventh term, says he's keeping the doors open to a statewide run. But every Charlottte mayor for the last three decades has walked through that door, only to have it slam in their face. Some more than once.

Success in Charlotte doesn't necesarily translate across North Carolina, as these mayors found out.

Richard Vinroot, 1991-95
He lost a 1996 Republican gubernatorial primary to Robin Hayes. He won the 2000 nomination but lost to Democrat Mike Easley.

Sue Myrick, 1987-91
She lost the GOP’s 1992 U.S. Senate primary to Lauch Faircloth. Elected to the U.S. House in 1994.

Harvey Gantt, 1983-87
He won Democratic Senate nomination twice, in 1990 and 1996. He lost twice to Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eddie Knox, 1979-83
He lost the 1984 Democratic gubernatorial primary to Rufus Edmisten. Edmisten, by the way, went on to lose to Republican Jim Martin.

Martin, who, though not a mayor, had been a Mecklenburg County commissioner. But he claimed his lake house made him an Iredell County resident.

7 comments:

JAT said...

When was the last sitting mayor -- or even out-going mayor -- of any NC city elected guv?

Anonymous said...

i say he will run for senate and then president. seriously.

David McKnight said...

Mayor McCrory, if he aspires to a higher office--but wait, what could be better in this whole country than being mayor of Charlotte, N.C.?

Oh yes, as I was saying, if McCrory would like to try running for a new office, he should perhaps consider the legislative branch at either level--the U.S. House of Representatives or the N.C. House of Representatives.

From the U.S. House, he could seek the governorship or one of North Carolina's two U.S. Senate seats. From the N.C. House, he could consider running for the N.C. Senate or the Council of State, then run for U.S. senator or governor thereafter.

Charlotte does not have a large enough population, as a percentage of the population of the entire state of North Carolina (less than 10 per cent?) to enable a present or former mayor to try to guarantee a successful statewide race of any kind on home region voting strength alone. But a state legislator representing Mecklenburg in either house of the General Assembly could win a statewide race (at the state level) by virtue of the associations one is able to make with such a broad range of state and local leaders from the vantage point of legislative service in Raleigh.

Even in major cities such as Chicago, New York, Detroit, Houston and Miami, which have larger percentages of the population of the states of Illinois, New York, Michigan, Texas and Florida, an incumbent mayor still often faces an uphill battle winning a major statewide office. No mayor in North Carolina would have an easy time capturing a statewide office although the fine former mayors of Charlotte mentioned in this Campaign Tracker blog have run some mighty strong and respectable campaigns for governor and U.S. senator.

There should be a symposium or perhaps an continuing education political science course at one of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County's colleges or universities to help Charlotteans and residents of the towns of Mecklenburg interested in statewide campaigns to really understand the breadth, nuances, traditions and legacies of statewide politics in the Old North State.

And Lesson One should be:

Getting to know Mecklenburg's neighboring counties in the southern and western Piedmont! (Guest lecturer, Richard Vinroot.)

Lesson Two: What makes each section and region of North Carolina so distinctive in character and outlook? (Guest lecturer, Harvey Gantt.)

Lesson Three: What is it about Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that other North Carolinians often say they like or dislike? (Guest lecturer, Sue Myrick.)

Lesson Four: How to avoid entanglements with dominant factions of the two major political parties in North Carolina. (Guest lecturer, Eddie Knox.)

Lesson Five: How to get the Capital City Press Corps in Raleigh to give you the time of day. (Guest lecturer, Jack Betts.)

Well, I should stop there or I'll give away the whole secret to running and winning statewide from Mecklenburg! But it can be done, and you don't have to be a Cam Morrison or a Pete Cunningham to pull it off.

Anonymous said...

The post should read "Charlotte mayors's statewide record: 0-7" Well, the last one isn't technically a loss, it is more like a concession or forfeit. Richard Vinroot received less votes than Patrick Ballantine in the 2004 Republican Primary for Governor of North Carolina. Vinroot could have chosen to be in a runoff with Ballantine but capitulated for the good of the Party.

Also the dates in the post are wrong for when Vinroot ran for governor. He lost in the primary in 1996, not 1988, to Robin Hayes. He won the primary then lost to Mike Easley in the race for governor in 2000, not 1992.

Anonymous said...

The post should read "Charlotte mayors' statewide record: 0-7" Well, the last one isn't technically a loss, it is more like a concession or forfeit. Richard Vinroot received less votes than Patrick Ballantine in the 2004 Republican Primary for Governor of North Carolina. Vinroot could have chosen to be in a runoff with Ballantine but capitulated for the good of the Party.

Also the dates in the post are wrong for when Vinroot ran for governor. He lost in the primary in 1996, not 1988, to Robin Hayes. He won the primary then lost to Mike Easley in the race for governor in 2000, not 1992.
(I changed mayors's in the last comment to mayors' in this one.)

Cato said...

One problem that McCrory will have is the ineptitude of the statewide GOP. I heard that they made some changes after the '06 elections, but they would still need to get much better organization in place for McCrory, or just about any Republican, to have a shot.

David McKnight said...

Of course, Mayor McCrory could try to for statewide office via the Clyde Hoey-Jim Martin Methodology.

Clyde Roark Hoey of Shelby, after mastering the newspaper printing business in Charlotte and Shelby, went to the State House from Cleveland County and then on to the State Senate. Later, he won election to Congress before going back home to Shelby and eventually becoming a successful candidate for governor. After that, he served in the U.S. Senate.

Jim Martin didn't have to toot his own horn politically in Charlotte because he was already playing tuba for the Charlotte Symphony as he became more involved in Mecklenburg County local government. Then the former Davidson chemistry professor with the chemistry Ph.D. from Princeton got elected to Congress before going on to win two terms as Governor, much to the editorial chagrin of The (Raleigh) News & Observer.