Most of the puns about the Pope/Claude Pope have already been made, so there won’t be any in this post.
But the big news out of the NC political world yesterday was that Claude Pope, former chairman of the Wake County Republican Party, now wants to be chairman of the state Republican Party. With Robin Hayes exiting stage right, a convention to elect his successor will be held in June.

The Pope family has long been influential in Wake County; Claude is Art’s cousin (the exact relationship is uncertain). Claude’s father was Claude E. Pope, who served as North Carolina Secretary of Commerce during the 1980s, the Claude E. Pope Memorial Highway in Wake County is named for him.

Arguably, Mr. Pope’s tenure as chairman of the Wake County Republican Party was a successful one. During his time as chairman, Republicans took control of the County Commission and the School Board, though Pope was no doubt assisted by a favorable environment for Republican candidates. There are probably better ways to measure the effectiveness of a party chairman, but this will be a task for the Executive Committee.

From the News & Observer: “Pope’s campaign team includes McCrory’s nephew, Patrick Sebastian, and McCrory 2012 campaign manager Russell Peck.”

This should give an indication as to Mr. Pope’s chances of becoming the next chairman. And now that McCrory has endorsed him, he should be considered the strong favorite in the race.

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