He could have gone out on top. Despite a term marked by turmoil and graft, Pat McCrory had set the stage for a dignified exit. The governor had managed a hurricane, boosted his approval ratings, and avoided a humiliating blowout loss. An opportunity for redemption awaited.

But he didn’t have it in him. Our first ever losing governor decided to compound his disrepute.

McCrory lost on election day. But given the relatively narrow deficit he faced, few would have begrudged him a few more days. It became clear within a week, however, that provisionals were steadily weakening his position. Respect for the truth–and for the voters–indicated that he should bow out. Instead he chose to cling to office, which made him look small and desperate–much like four years of catering to legislative bullies.

And so he continued on for a month. The longer he stayed in, the more contemptible his antics became. Before long, he was accusing his own constituents of criminal behavior. Even a 101-year-old veteran got caught in the slanderous dragnet.

It’s hard to remember just how strong McCrory once looked. Sitting on a pile of cash, backed by the whole business community, Candidate Pat seemed destined for a national future. Having come to Raleigh with everything, he now leaves with little at all. Especially not dignity.


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