10/02/11 — McCrory campaigns at fair

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McCrory campaigns at fair

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 2, 2011 1:50 AM

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Likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, right, greets Jimmy Bryan as McCrory meets the public at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. McCrory, who served as mayor of Charlotte for 14 years, was defeated by Gov. Beverly Perdue in the 2008 election.

Republican Pat McCrory hasn't officially announced that he will run for governor in 2012, but to anyone watching him at the Wayne Regional Fair on Friday night he sure appeared to be in full campaign form as he introduced himself and shook hands with fairgoers.

Many of them recognized him, though, from his effort to win the seat in 2008, when he narrowly fell to Gov. Beverly Perdue, and said they were glad to see him back.

The former Charlotte mayor, however, said that after the 2008 election -- which he says he lost only because of the outpouring of support created by President Barack Obama's candidacy -- he wasn't sure he would ever be in this position again.

"I assumed my political career was over," he said. "And I'd accepted that. But my phone kept ringing with candidates asking me to help with their elections."

And, he said, over the course of the last three years, there seemed to be a groundswell of support building for him to make a second run for the state's highest office.

But, he said, he won't say he's officially running -- at least not yet.

"This is part of the process," he said of his trip to Goldsboro on Friday. "We're traveling all around the state. What I don't want to do is get into this and look behind me and see nobody back there. But so far, a lot of people are already in front."

The lack of an official declaration isn't stopping McCrory from putting forward a campaign theme, though. This time he believes the entire election will hinge on the issue of jobs, and he said his focus is on: "If we can make it, grow it or innovate it."

In particular, he said, he wants to focus on helping existing industry grow and add more jobs, in addition to recruiting new businesses from outside the state.

The key to accomplishing all of that, though, he said, will involve a comprehensive approach focusing on issues of energy, education, infrastructure and tax reform.

And while he believes the Republican-led General Assembly made strides in all of those areas this year, he says to truly turn the state around will take a Republican governor as well.

"They had some tough

decisions to make to deal with a short-term budget issue the previous administration had swept under the rug," he said. "And the governor had her chance in her first two years when the Democrats held the


And so that's why he was in Goldsboro on Friday, he said -- to talk to people about what they felt needed to be done in Raleigh, and in particular, talk a group of local businessmen about what the state needs to do to help improve North Carolina's ports and the inland shipping lanes that run through Wayne County, and thus help grow local business opportunities.

"It's not going to be the government that's going to get us out of this recession. It's the private sector that's going to get us out of this recession.