Former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he won’t run for governor but will “seriously consider” a 2022 campaign for the U.S. Senate.
McCrory made the announcement on his morning show on WBT radio.
“Despite very favorable surveys...I’ve made a decision not to run for governor,” he said. “First I don’t want to cause further division within the Republican Party.”
McCrory had teased about an announcement of his future plans. He said people have urged him to run. He talked about the “cracks in the foundation” of government at the federal, state and local level.
A Civitas poll this month showed the former Charlotte mayor with a double digit lead over Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in the race for governor. He said he would support the GOP nominee for governor and Sen. Thom Tillis, who’s running for re-election.
He criticized Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who beat him in 2016. “Gov. Cooper can be beaten and should be beaten,” he said.
In response, Cooper adviser Morgan Jackson said “We haven’t given Pat McCrory a thought in years.”
McCrory isn’t alone in considering 2022, when Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has said he won’t seek re-election.
This week, in announcing that he won’t run for re-election to the U.S. House, Rep. Mark Walker said he’s strongly considering the Senate race. Politico reported that President Donald Trump has said he he would “enthusiastically back” Walker in a 2022 Senate bid.
McCrory said as he considers the Senate race, he’ll focus on expanding “this very successful radio show.”
State Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard had leaked McCrory’s news in an email to reporters Wednesday night.
“The manufactured drama of this announcement is just textbook McCrory,” he said in a statement. “His desperate attempts to garner media attention in any form prove that he refuses to confront the message North Carolina voters sent him at the ballot box in 2016.”