McCrory tacks to center at Greensboro Republican gathering

Pat McCrory, the Republican candidate for governor, confers with Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes. US House Rep. Howard Coble's back is to the camera. NC Rep. Jerry Tillman's hand is on McCrory's shoulder.

Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee for governor and former mayor of Charlotte, told a friendly crowd at a party fundraiser at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro tonight that the party needs to work hard and broaden its appeal to win in November.

“We’ve got to understand that in order to win this election we have to appeal to the independent voter and the conservative Democrats,” he said. “And there are a lot of conservative Democrats in this state and in Guilford County that believe in our message, but they’re afraid to turn because they go, ‘Well, my great-great grandfather would roll around in his grave’ if he voted for us. They’re turning. They’re turning because they’ve seen the lack of leadership both in Raleigh and in Washington.”

The candidate outlined the Republican platform as cutting taxes to attract investment and make North Carolina more competitive with neighboring states in creating and retaining jobs.

“Our current and our past leadership don’t think they have to update the brand while we have other governors all around us who are competing hard against us while we’ve been sitting on the sidelines with Obamacare and not talking about it, while they raise our sales tax, our corporate tax, our income tax,” he said They just think business is going to stay here as normal like it did 20 years ago. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a competitive world, and we need a governor who understands we’re going to fight for every job in North Carolina.”

Hosted by the Greater Greensboro Republican Women’s Club, the $40-per-head event also included a raffle and silent auction to raise money that club president Brenda Formo said will be spent to support candidates. The event drew US Rep. Howard Coble, who is seeking reelection, a slate of Republican candidates for council of state, incumbent NC Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, and Republican National Committee Co-chair Sharon Day.

McCrory brought several of the council of state candidates up to the podium – Dan Forest for lieutenant governor, Ed Goodwin for secretary of state, Steve Troxler for secretary of agriculture and Debra Goldman for auditor – doling out individual praise. “This is a ticket of values,” he said, “of leadership, of vision.”

McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown and graduated from Ragsdale High School, highlighted two Guilford County leaders and a native of the county as advisors to his campaign and, should be elected, his governorship. Aldona Wos, a former ambassador to Estonia who lives in Greensboro, is McCrory’s campaign co-chair. Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes is the chairman of the Public Safety Committee for McCrory. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby attended Ragsdale High School with McCrory and Barnes.

“They are important leaders and advisors,” McCrory said. “And it’s an example, as you can see with Aldona and Paul and BJ, if I’m elected governor – and we hope we will be – I have no problem surrounding myself with people smarter than me. Because that’s what we need. We need people who are confident and intelligent and pragmatic people. And these are the people I want to have around me to advise us on how to implement the future vision of North Carolina.”

McCrory said Wos is a “closely trusted advisor” who would continue to advise him as governor.

He also praised Barnes.

“Your sheriff is also an advisor for me, and there are some critical issues in the criminal justice system that Paul is also going to have to work on, which your sheriff is advising me on,” McCrory said. “In fact, he gave me some great advice before I gave a speech to the sheriff’s association about three weeks ago down at the coast. He talked about some of the issues that we’re dealing with regarding some of the cartels that are dealing drugs into our neighborhoods, into our schools.

“He talked about some of the issues [with] the breakdown in our criminal justice system, the breakdown of the criminal lab at the SBI and the impact that’s having on the sheriff, the breakdown in our mental-health system where many of our mental-health people are literally being housed in the county jails today because there’s been a lack of leadership in this area, the issue of addiction, where the next governor and all of us – I don’t care what family you’re in right now – all of us are impacted by the issue of addiction. And right now that’s being thrown at the doorstep of the sheriffs of North Carolina.”

Pat McCrory (center), the Republican candidate for governor, brought council of state candidates (l-r) Ed Goodwin, Dan Forest, Steve Troxler and Debra Goldman up to the podium. Mike Causey, a candidate for insurance commissioner, also spoke at the event.

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