Back in 2016, then-North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory was praised by many social conservatives for supporting NC House Bill 2 —the so-called “North Carolina bathroom bill,” which banned transgender Americans from using public restrooms for the gender they identified with. Christian fundamentalists praised McCrory for, as they saw it, being willing to defend “traditional values.” But in the 2022 midterms, ironically, the right-wing McCrory finds himself being slammed as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) by MAGA extremists.
McCrory ran for reelection in 2016, losing to Democrat Roy Cooper by less than 1%. Now, in 2022, McCrory is seeking the nomination in North Carolina’s GOP U.S. Senate primary, and MAGA Republicans, insanely, are accusing him of not being far enough to right.
Journalist Natalie Allison, in an article published by Politico on May 12, explains, “Former Gov. Pat McCrory served on the frontline of the culture wars in 2016 when he signed North Carolina’s controversial ‘bathroom bill,’ which curbed protections for transgender people. When he was defeated for reelection later that year by a razor-thin margin, he raised questions about the voting process and didn’t concede until nearly a month after the election.”
Allison continues, “Those experiences would seem to make McCrory an ideal nominee in a post-Trump GOP animated by claims of election fraud and the politics of transgender rights. Instead, in the run-up to North Carolina’s Tuesday primary, he’s dropping in polls and being dismissed by MAGA faithful as a liberal RINO.”
McCrory, now 65, finds it “ironic” that he’s now being accused of being too liberal, especially in light of all the angry protests from liberals and progressives that he experienced for defending the “North Carolina bathroom bill” in 2016.
The former North Carolina governor and U.S. Senate candidate told Politico, “It is kind of a unique situation at this point in time. But to have it be said I’m liberal is ironic, because four years ago, I was being branded the exact opposite…. I’m the same person.”
Republican Jim Martin, another former North Carolina governor, also finds it ironic that McCrory is now being accused of being too liberal.
Martin told Politico, “Anybody who really knows Pat and pays attention, whether they’re liberal or conservative, they’re not going to call him liberal.”
McCrory is running for the U.S. Senate seat presently held by Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who is retiring. One of his competitors in the primary is Rep. Ted Budd, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump as well as the Club for Growth. The Club’s super PAC has been paying for ads slamming McCrory as a “liberal faker.”
McCrory told Politico, “I was probably the original person who was canceled, and now, I’m the one being called a liberal. Someone came up to me the other day and said, ‘McCrory, you were (Ron) DeSantis before DeSantis.’ I said, ‘That’s a unique perspective.’ I stood up to some things that were contrary not just to liberals, but to the power elite of my party.”
A Co/Efficient poll released on Monday, May 9 found Budd continuing to surge in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate primary and leading McCrory by 28%. And a CBS 17/The Hill/Emerson College poll released on May 11 found McCrory trailing Budd by 27%.