Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory has not officially announced his candidacy for N.C. governor, but he is already garnering support from a fellow Republican politician.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who toyed with a 2012 presidential run, will be attending a fundraising event for McCrory later this month.
Sarah Treul, a political science professor at UNC, said Christie’s appearance at the event, which will be held at a Greensboro home, is part of a standard practice.
“He’s a really good campaigner, and has been very successful bringing money into fundraisers,” Treul said.
“Christie was doing a good job of raising money even for an election he wasn’t in — the 2012 election,” she said. “That’s just a good indication he will help bring money in, especially national money, which is proving more and more important in even gubernatorial elections.”
McCrory spokesman Brian Nick said Christie was invited to speak at the event a few weeks ago, and so far this event is the only one for McCrory that Christie will attend.
Having Christie at the event will be a big draw, he said.
“He’s a nationally known figure,” Nick said. “He’s got a reputation as somebody who’s not afraid to enact necessary reforms, to cut spending.”
But Nathan Westmoreland, president of UNC’s Young Democrats, said he doesn’t think Christie’s appearance proves anything about McCrory’s ability to solve North Carolina’s problems.
McCrory ran against N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue in 2008 and lost by a narrow margin.
Dustin Ingalls, assistant to the director of left-leaning Public Policy Polling, said McCrory has been consistently leading Perdue in the polls, but in the past few months, Perdue has been closing the double-digit gap to within six or seven points.
“At this point McCrory would be favored to win next year,” Ingalls said. “But certainly there’s a lot of time, and the trajectory has been slowly back toward Perdue as the legislature and the budget have become unpopular.”
Greg Steele, chairman for UNC’s College Republicans, said McCrory would be a great choice if he runs for governor again.
College Republicans cannot make endorsements during a primary season, but they will endorse McCrory if he is named the official Republican candidate, Steele said.
“We would absolutely help his campaign and help him get elected — we help Republicans at all levels.”
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