No doubt there is a lot of armchair quarterbacking in the aftermath of an election that does not go as planned.
That is most certainly the case this week for Pat McCrory.
The former Republican governor and Charlotte mayor had hoped to secure his party’s nomination Tuesday for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Richard Burr.
But voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly selected Ted Budd with 59% of the vote to McCrory’s 25%. (Budd will face former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley in November’s General Election.)
“The Republican party has changed since Pat McCrory most recently won, and Pat McCrory didn’t change along with it,” explained Meredith College political scientist David McLennan.
McLennan, who appears this weekend on NC Policy Watch’s News & Views, said while McCrory tried to appeal to the Make America Great Again (MAGA) voters, he also reverted to calling himself a Reagan Republican.
“Fifteen or 20 years ago it would have made sense, but now it doesn’t make sense,” McLennan said. “So his party left him, he didn’t leave his party.”
In his concession speech, McCrory told supporters that he knew he was in for a tough race a year age when then President Donald Trump said McCrory didn’t represent his values.
“Well he may be right in that regard, regarding values. I do represent his policies, but probably not his values,” McCrory acknowledged on Tuesday.
McCrory said both he and his supporters must now do an evaluation of the Republican party.
“I want you to know you have leverage in this race coming up. You have leverage because our party has to recognize you as being common sense conservatives.”
But will the current GOP support ‘commonsense conservative’ McCrory in a future contest?
McLennan is not so sure.
“It’s not an easy path. We’ve got a governor’s race in two years, we can’t see the Republican party changing in two years. Out next Senate race is a few years off, and you doubt he’ll return to local politics.”
McCrory ends the week in isolation, having contracted COVID in the final hours of his U.S. Senate bid.
As for the future of the Republican party, Donald Trump who helped buoy Rep. Budd past McCrory has announced plans to bring his American Freedom tour to Greensboro this summer, with tickets ranging from $35 to $3995.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who won Trump’s endorsement but lost Tuesday’s primary, is calling on Dark MAGA to ‘defeat the cowardly and weak members of our own party. ‘
McCrory called the 26-year-old Cawthorn an embarrassment to the state during his campaign.
For more from our interview with political scientist David McLennan, click below: