Listen: Former NC Governor Pat McCrory Talks About a Year Past and What's Ahead

FILE - In this June 24, 2016 file photo, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a candidate forum in Charlotte, N.C. North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers have legalized needle and syringe exchange programs across the state to combat a heroin epidemic law enforcement officials say is reaching critical levels. McCrory on Monday, July 11 approved the law despite objections from some conservative representatives who say such exchange programs only facilitate addictions. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

It’s been just over a year that boneheaded voters in North Carolina split their general election vote to support Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, but rejected who was one of the most – if not the most – successful governors in North Carolina’s history, Governor Pat McCrory.

McCrory apparently fell to grudge voters with single issues, too dull to think of the greater welfare of the state, when Republicans in Mecklenburg County punished him for the toll roads on I-77 (something the new governor, Roy Cooper, has not stopped), and Republicans in New Hanover County had a temper tantrum at the polls because of cuts to movie industry incentives (Nobody ever became a star from a role as an extra on “Dawson’s Creek”).

Then, of course, we can’t forget those magical, mystery votes out of scum-filthy Durham County. Over 90,000 votes that should have been turned in by 7:30pm on November 8, 2016 didn’t appear until McCrory had pulled ahead of Cooper, and just before midnight.

Subsequent investigations turned up multiple anomalies with the North Carolina votes (like hundreds of votes from Duke University students that listed the same address – an abandoned parking lot at the back of the school), but many of those complaints were ignored and rejected outright by the State Board of Elections.

McCrory initially contested the results, but when subsequent, limited vote recounts did not yield significant change, he abandoned his efforts and Cooper was officially named the new governor.

So to catch up, what has McCrory been up to, since leaving the Governor’s mansion in Raleigh?

For a time, it looked as if he would be called into the Trump administration, but that didn’t happen.

He’s fielded other opportunities, done some consulting work, and in the latest, it appears he’ll be a regular fixture on the North Carolina talk radio beat.

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

The Republican who also long served as Charlotte’s mayor has landed a regular spot on talk radio station WBT-AM (1110) weekdays from 9 to 10 a.m., according to general manager Matt Hanlon. McCrory shares the time slot with station veteran Bo Thompson, who also hosts WBT’s “Morning News” from 5 to 9 a.m.

McCrory started in September with brief early-morning spots with Thompson around 7:15 a.m., as the Charlotte station looked to capitalize on his expertise during the mayoral race, Hanlon said. After the November election, McCrory committed to his new time slot for at least a couple of months, as he weighs other job possibilities.

The governor’s expanded role came after an “extraordinary” response to his early-morning spots, Hanlon said.

Hanlon went on to say that after they began having McCrory appear, they experienced a very real bump upwards in ratings.

It’s no wonder. The man has a solid grasp on a range of issues, has an easy demeanor, connects well, and is a natural for radio (as well as executive leadership).

Last month, he sat with David Chadwick, also a host with WBT-AM, and talked about what he’s experienced and observed in the past year, including what the private life has been for he and his wife, Ann (not a picnic), as well as how his faith has helped him cope.

One thing I’ve been interested in knowing about is what he talked about with Trump in December 2016.

According to McCrory, he sat down with Trump and Steve Bannon. He wouldn’t talk about the conversation, but his observation from that time (and probably the reason nothing further came from that meeting): “There’s going to be some turf.”

What he meant was turf wars, and he said you could divide it into Trump’s family, the Bannon faction, and then anybody that wasn’t family or a Bannonite. He said Trump’s initial goal seemed to be to try and keep everybody happy, but you just can’t do that.

He talked about the efforts that went into holding North Carolina together after Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of the state. He was in the middle of the election, it was his October surprise, and he feels a lot of good work was done, but regrets he couldn’t oversee the recovery efforts.

Frankly, since Cooper took over office, those efforts have all but been pushed aside.

He told of a particular tale of an elderly woman in one flooded community begging him to go find her dogs. When she’d been evacuated, she couldn’t get to her pets, and they were all she had left.

McCrory says he didn’t let the woman see, but after comforting her, when he turned away, he wept.

As he said to Chadwick, “I’m not as bad as Boehner, but I’m a crier!”

He talked about taking a trip back to some of those communities recently, just to see what, if any progress had been done, and being recognized by some members of the community, who talked with him about their frustrations with just how slow the recovery efforts have gone.

He also talked about the current ugliness of the political climate, riots, and his decision to bring in the N.C. National Guard to shut down riots that broke out over a proven, justified police shooting in Charlotte in September 2016.

Unlike with other states, McCrory gave protesters no more than a day to show that they couldn’t be trusted not to fake outrage, as an excuse to loot and wreck the city. He stood on the side of Charlotte’s police force, and got assistance in right away.

There’s a reason he was endorsed by every major police organization in the state.

He said that what was discovered after things had calmed down was that some of those violent protesters had been bussed in from outside of the state. It was also discovered that Russia had promoted rioting in the city, as a way of keeping things chaotic.

He pointed out that rather than just being a Trump issue, Russia is actively working to weaken our nation from the inside. Promoting rioting and division over social media is just one way they’re doing it.

And speaking of Trump, without saying it himself, McCrory confirmed something that I said a year ago, about how Trump may have sabotaged McCrory’s campaign whenever he visited North Carolina.

The former governor mentioned all the gains made in the state during his time in office, things he’s proud of (rightfully), and how his campaign was really trying to get the message of the “Carolina comeback” out to the people.

In less than 3 years, McCrory and the General Assembly managed to pull the state out of nearly $3 billion in debt, slashed unemployment to well below the national average, built up a healthy surplus, reformed the tax code, increased teacher pay, and had made North Carolina one of the most attractive states for businesses in the nation.

There was absolutely no reason McCrory should have lost. None. Not the bathroom bill, not the toll roads, the movie industry cuts… NOTHING.

We were riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels.

For lack of interest in staying informed above being entertained, North Carolina voters apparently bought the slum act being fed to them by Donald Trump, every time his travelling freak show hit the Tar Heel state.

When Trump campaigned in the state, he never acknowledged McCrory’s accomplishments. Instead, he would use his platform in the state to talk about how desperately broken, hopeless, and in need of his god-like touch North Carolinians were.

If you were a low info voter – Trump’s MAGA base – you would have thought that North Carolina was the festering pit of poverty and agony, totally abandoned by our corrupt leadership.

Nothing could have been further from the truth, and of course, McCrory didn’t say it that way, but you could hear the lingering edge of frustration in his voice, as he talked about how Trump buried the “Carolina comeback” message, and very likely drove his voters in the state to either vote for Cooper, or the Libertarian who was also on the ticket, this go around.

And I absolutely know it to be true. I talked to a lot of North Carolina Trump supporters who were maddeningly unaware of the strides McCrory had made as governor, but could recite every campaign lie Trump uttered, verbatim. And yes, they declared McCrory must pay for dragging our state to the depths of ruin.

So will McCrory take another run at the governorship?

He’s not ruling it out. He said he would make a decision after the 2018 election, and I assume after talking with his wife.

He talked about how his wife would not even walk with him on the streets in Charlotte and Asheville, because people were so hateful.

That’s awful.

And finally, he talks about returning to his Bible study groups and leaning on his faith to get him through the grieving process involved with losing his job and dealing with the question of, “What now?”

It’s a great interview with a wonderful governor.

And yes, if McCrory makes that step in 2020, I am SO there!