Maybe it’ll be Charles Meeker. Or Nancy McFarlane. Or one of their successors. Whoever, a mayor of Raleigh will be Governor. And soon.
The Raleigh media market is huge, reaching maybe as much as 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote and close to a third of the general election vote. A mayor who has been visible and successful has a running start.
And, mayors can have an image of getting positive things done in a nonpartisan way in what is otherwise a toxic political environment. Meeker can point to the rebirth of Raleigh’s downtown, plus its growth and attractiveness for jobs, investments and new businesses.
That contrasts sharply with most of today’s governments, which either don’t work (Washington) or work in a way that angers half the voters (North Carolina).
Pat McCrory parlayed being mayor of Charlotte into a can-do image that elected him Governor. Now, of course, he is busy belying that image. But he overcame the “Charlotte myth” – that a Charlotte mayor couldn’t be elected Governor. Raleigh won’t be far behind. It’s inevitable.
As North Carolina becomes a more urbanized state, we will no looker look to rural areas and small towns and cities for our governors, the way we did for generations.
You can be sure of one thing Meeker heard on his “listening tour” of the state. People are bound to have said, we’re tired of what politics has become. We want somebody with a quieter, less polarizing voice, a proven leader who can get things done.
Now, that’s easier to do in city hall than in the Capitol. But it may be enough to get you to the Capitol.