Pat McCrory is starting to flail. It’s not pretty when incumbents realize that they are trailing and time is running out. They start looking for something—anything—to change the dynamic of the race. In the final throes of her loss in 2008, Sen. Elizabeth Dole accused Kay Hagan of being an atheist. GOP commentator Alex Castellanos memorably said, “When you’re making ads that say [your opponent thinks] there is no God, it usually means your campaign doesn’t have a prayer.”
It’s early but McCrory seems to have hit that point. He’s stuck on HB2. Even though most people blame the fiasco on Republicans, McCrory is desperately trying to push it off on Democrats. It won’t work, but that won’t keep him from trying.
This week, McCrory released an ad that doesn’t mention HB2 but implies that Democrats want to allow boys to use girls’ locker rooms and showers in schools. It’s not believable but that doesn’t matter. He’s flailing and he thinks HB2 was his undoing. If he can just get it off of him and onto somebody else, maybe he can survive.
On Tuesday, he tried to blame the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, saying they wrote large parts of the bill. The Chamber released a statement denying it. Yesterday, he blamed Cooper and the “political left” for forcing the HB2 issue. Again, he’s not believable. McCrory signed the bill into law. Nobody is going to believe that Cooper and his allies forced him to sign the bad piece of legislation. It’s a bit pathetic but it’s reminiscent of the governor we’ve watched for the past three and a half years. He’ll say anything to pass the blame no matter how silly he sounds.
McCrory is hitting the desperation stage. He’s got to get inside of five points in the next few weeks or he’s probably toast. Voters have seen enough information about the two candidates to have developed pretty firm impressions and right now, they’re not impressed with McCrory. It’s not over but the window is closing—and he knows it.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >