Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Orr on 'the perception about Charlotte'

Former N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Bob Orr – the only candidate in the Republican primary for governor who has won a statewide race – is getting a little impatient with Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory’s dalliance with the thought of getting into the race for governor.
Orr won four statewide races for appellate court judgeships, and though he’s handicapped by not having a ton of money to run on, he’s working hard at it and relying in part on his campaign blog to reach voters.
In Orr’s blog today (“More From Orr”, and here’s a link, Orr says McCrory’s coyness is doing himself, and voters in the primary, a disservice.
“The unintended impression is simply that this whole exercise is a some kind of a lark and if and when he gets in the race he has nothing to lose and everything to gain...,” Orr writes.
“The sense is that old Pat will throw his hat in the ring, make some obligatory appearances at GOP functions, pontificate on being a big city mayor, splash up a million or so in slick TV ads and see if he can win the May primary. If not, no political harm done.
"My impression is that Pat’s being nudged into the race because his real political ambitions to replace Congresswoman Sue Myrick are blocked for the time being and his supporters want him to do something. Frankly, that’s not a good reason to be running for governor and the whole cavalier attitude about the process and the last minute interest in running only adds credence to the perception about Charlotte.”
I called Orr to ask about that reference. Here’s some of what he said: “It’s the Great State of Mecklenburg perception that you’ve probably written about,” he said. McCrory’s toying with running, he said, “comes across to me as ‘Ho-hum, the three other candidates are not catching on....’ “It’s sort of that cavalier attitude that we are Charlotte and we are coming in to save you.”
In North Carolina politics there’s a presumption that it’s hard for candidates from Mecklenburg County to win statewide races. Hard, but not impossible, as Jim Martin proved in 1984 and 1988 (I know, I know, he had a Lake Norman address, but folks knew where he worked and where he was chairman of the county commissioners before he went to Congress) and as N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker of Charlotte proved in the last election.
I don’t think there’s a hex on candidates from Mecklenburg. I think every one who lost just was not as good a candidate as those who won the race, for a lot of reasons having to do with political ability, understanding the North Carolina electorate and what appeals to them, and raising the considerable loot to finance their campaigns.
Republicans Fred Smith, a state senator from Johnston County, and Bill Graham, a Salisbury lawyer, are also in the GOP race. You can see them as well as the Democratic candidates, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Treasurer Richard Moore, on UNC TV Thursday night live at 8 p.m. on UNC-NC, the digital channel, and rebroadcast at 10 p.m. on UNC-TV in a forum on the economy for the gubernatorial race.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe those of us in "The Great State of Mecklenburg" should start referring to the rest of North Carolina as "Robin Hood," because they sure do a great job of taking from the rich and giving it to...themselves?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Orr, we wouldn't vote for him anyway.

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Does Bob Orr eat pickles???

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Anonymous said...

Charlotte is a "donor" city. We give far more in taxes to the state than we receive in services, roads, etc. This native Charlottean's perception of the rest of the state is that we are being ripped off by Raleigh.

Secession is an ugly word, with an ugly history. Yet I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't be better off forming our own state of Mecklenburg, with Charlotte as the capital. (Please no joining up with lesser Carolina to the south, thanks.) The only thing I can see that we would lose is in-state admissions to my alma mater, Chapel Hill. Who knows? Maybe in a generation, UNCC could be as renowned as Chapel Hill. Look at UC Berkeley-UCLA. It can be done.

Lewis Guignard said...

Bob Orr is right about Mayor Pat. Mayor Pat, who keeps raising money for his next step up in political life, has been the mayor of Charlotte for life, because the Democrats don't offer any opponents, or if they do, don't support them, because they support Mayor Pat.

He belongs to the Republican Party, which if it had a legitimate primary opponent, Pat wouldn't win. Nor does Pat support his own party members when they run for office. Oh yes, cursory to be sure.

Pat is a perfect Charlotte candidate. He'll get blown out statewide, then not support the R who wins the primary.

Bob Orr on the other hand is an excellent candidate for the R's to put forth to run against Beverly Perdue or Richard Moore.

If the race ends up being between Purdue and Orr, the voters can only win.

Anonymous said...

Now why would you run a D candidate when the Ds get their agenda promoted by the current mayor.

NC_Native said...

Like most Charlotteans, I could give a flip less about what some tobacco-spittin' hick "down east" thinks about Charlotte. They love to pontificate about how we're like a different state. Well, if that means different from them - I'll take it as a compliment and say thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

The great state if mecklenburg is such a tired old good ol'boy longneck term from eastern nc. I think Charlotte would be better off become a part of south carolina. Columbia is closer than Raleigh!

Anonymous said...

Orr's comment that “It’s sort of that cavalier attitude that we are Charlotte and we are coming in to save you..." is laughable, since we can't seem to even save ourselves.

I'll even concede the point that Pat McCrory is nothing more than an amateur political dilletante. Being mayor of Charlotte really doesn't count for much in the greater political scheme of things. And frankly speaking, neither does being a judge. Ho-hum.

That said, it is to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County's credit that at least the our income doesn't come from growing a noxious weed that kills people, killing chickens and turkeys, polluting the environment with waste from hog farms, or cooking barbeque.

Most of Orr's comments sound like sour grapes to me, anyway.

David McKnight said...

The problem with present or former mayors of Charlotte running for statewide offices such as governor or U.S. senator has not been so much with the actual candidates themselves since the 1980s but rather with growing statewide concerns about how Charlotte as a city regards the people of other regions of the state.

As a native of Charlotte who went through the public schools there before going to work in other parts of North Carolina, I have always sought to defend Charlotte-area political candidates from both parties against inaccurate portrayals or unjustified aspersions in the press or elsewhere in North Carolina public affairs circles.

But now I have had to face the fact that people elsewhere, while they appreciate and respect Charlotte's corporate and other civic accomplishments as they have benefitted the Charlotte region and the Southeast in general, nonetheless view Charlotte's public and perhaps even journalistic institutions as imposing the city's own local political arena as the prism through which all reason and enligbhtenment elsewhere must pass in order to be validated.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, who grew up in another great city, Chicago and whose life and career took her not to other regions of the state of Illinois but indeed to the states of Arkansas and New York, made the marvelous observation on the night of the New Hampshire that she had listened to the concerns of the people and in so doing had found her own voice.

Charlotte as a city is increasingly perceived as a political fortress that does not have time to listen to the people of other sections of North Carolina and, frankly, has not yet spoken out to the rest of the state in a voice that seems true.

It was not always so because Charlotte was seen as a true gathering place, marketplace and commercial crossroads for both Carolinas.

The Observer's editorial pages are quick to quote a lofty view from the Washington Post or the New York Times, but when's the last time you saw an excerpt from an article or editorial from the Lenoir News-Topic or the Goldsboro News-Argus?

You want to educate the rest of us about what you think is important, but you don't want to help educate Charlotteans about the concerns of the rest of North Carolina, and you are particuarly disrespectful toward former Charlotteans who have given up the comforts of home and "the good life" to go out as virtual pilgrims to other regions of the state to try to make North Carolina a better place to live and work. Then, almost like the Rome of anicent times, you give us the impression that once a person has left Charlotte for a smaller city or town, they no longer need to be taken seriously.

So in the case of Mayor Patrick McCrory as in the case of men and women of both political parties who have preceded him as possible or actual candidates for statewide office, you may once again see an outcome in which the considerable popularity of the individual holding the office of mayor cannot quite equal the high level of apprehension about Charlotte's institutional views toward the rest of North Carolina.

To put it into the simplest of political terms, you have looked many a gift horse in the mouth and responded: "Nay-ay-ay!"

McCrory should perhaps consider saddling up the next horse to the U.S. Congress even if he has to try to gallop past an incumbent within his own party.

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