Charlotte Observer endorses “progressive” Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory for the Republican primary for governor

It’s sort of like the NYT’s endorsement of McCain earlier this year – it’s not an endorsement a true conservative desires, but then again, Charlotte’s 7-term mayor isn’t really a true conservative. He just plays one on TV. On their editorial page this morning, the Observer opined:

But the leading candidate in this [Republican] race is Charlotte’s seven-term mayor. Pat McCrory has followed a pattern set down decades ago for progressive leadership in the state’s largest city. Though he too often detours into boilerplate rhetoric for political consumption, in fact he has shown an ability to get things done. His support for a half-cent local sales tax to pay for mass transit, including a commuter rail line that is now getting rave reviews, mark him as an effective leader who’s willing to invest in the future. He would bring a unique perspective on urban needs to the campaign. Now he must persuade voters that his vision for a fast-growing city will translate into a more comprehensive vision for a fast-growing state with pockets of economic stagnation. While he has campaigned against what he perceives as the indifference of Raleigh to Charlotte, he must be nimble enough to demonstrate that he can work across party lines outside Charlotte and serve the state in the tradition of another Mecklenburg Republican, former Gov. Jim Martin. We recommend Pat McCrory for the Republican nomination.

Uh … I would think that his support of the half-cent local sales tax to pay for “mass transit” is quite enough to show how he is willing to reach across party lines while presiding over one of the biggest budget busters in Charlotte history. Not has he shown he can reach across party lines, he’s also shown he can reach across and stab voters directly in the back, as he did over the arena issue, which I discussed at length here.

McCrory, while personally a likeable guy who has his moments where he rides against the political winds here in Charlotte, has earned the distrust many Charlotte-area conservative have with him over the years, primarily due to his push for unnecessary, expensive “mass transit” and the “privately funded arena” he promised after voters voted down a bond package deal that included a new arena to replace the then-perfectly fine now-demolished Charlotte Coliseum. When all was said and done, Bobcats Arena was built with 65% of its funds coming from Charlotte taxpayers.

As much as I would love to see a Republican governnor again (it’s been a while), if McCrory gets the nomination I would find it very, very hard to support him based on, in part, the issues I just mentioned. The person I support for governor of North Carolina is strong conservative Fred Smith, who I’ve written about before. Unsurprisingly, while the Observer devoted two full paragraphs to the top two Dem contenders for the nomination, they gave Fred Smith, who is close behind McCrory in the polls, a mere three sentences:

Sen. Smith is a lawyer and successful businessman. He has a reputation as a tax-cutting conservative and has expressed a strong interest in making government work better. He has served three terms in the Senate.

Gee, I guess conservatives should thank the Observer for throwing out a few scraps on Senator Smiths’ record. Sheesh.

The Observer actually wrote a decent piece on Smith earlier this month as part of a series of profiles on all the candidate for governor. You can read his profile here.

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