Pat McCrory may not like this, but he reminds me a bit of Jim Hunt. His speech Tuesday night talked about North Carolina’s reaching and exceeding “their full potential.” Since then he has talked about reaching out to Republicans and Democrats. During the campaign he boasted about working across party lines in Charlotte. He even said in one debate that he and Hunt agreed on light rail in Charlotte.
If McCrory does govern from the center, he could be a good governor – for eight years. But it will be tougher to do that in Raleigh’s more partisan environment.
His own party will pull him to the right. The legislature isn’t accustomed to taking orders from the governor. Inevitably, his own appointments will cause him headaches. The media will put a microscope on him.
But Tuesday’s election results show where North Carolina’s political sweet spot is: down the middle. There were a lot of Obama-McCrory voters, especially around Charlotte. Except for the governor’s race – which was an outlier because McCrory had little opposition – every other statewide race ended in the 54-46 range, with both Democrats and Republicans winning.
One example: When you add up all the votes in N.C. Senate race, Republicans got just over 2 million, or about 51 percent. Democratic candidates got 1.94 million, just over 49 percent.
For now, redistricting gives Republicans power. But power in politics ultimately flows from votes. And North Carolina’s votes are about evenly split.