Take a look at the back of the envelope on this and let me know what you think.
McCrory’s chances would depend heavily on who wins the Democrat primary, if either of the presidential candidates have coat tails and how good his campaign is.
But here are some helpful numbers:
.08% – The amount by which Bev Perdue beat McCrory in Mecklenburg County in 2008. Normally getting beaten in your home county is a lethal sign of weakness that would finish off one’s statewide political career. The Dems and the media will use this to spin McCrory’s supposed weakness, but there is a reason this actually shows McCrory’s strength.
Obama/Biden clocked McCain/Palin by 24 points in Mecklenburg County. Straight ticket voting in Mecklenburg ran 64 percent Democrat to 35 percent Republican. Given Obama’s coat tails, McCrory performed phenomenally well in Mecklenburg and has a broad base of bipartisan support. If he can duplicate that statewide, he will be formidable. And Obama’s coat tails certainly won’t be as long this time, if he has any at all.
3 points — How much Perdue beat McCrory by statewide in the closest governor’s race in the nation in 2008. Every other down ballot statewide race had a bigger spread with the Democrat beating the Republican by four or more points. So McCrory kept the spread down. But … statewide, McCain/Palin did better than McCrory, losing to Obama/Biden 49.70 to 49.38 percent.
2,133,058 votes — Democrat Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton could be a big problem for McCrory if Dalton can get out of the primary. Dalton got 2,133,058 total votes running statewide against Charlotte’s Robert Pittenger in 2008 for an office that quite frankly no one cares about. That’s more votes than the 2,00168 votes McCrory got against Perdue in a far more high profile race.
That shows Dalton’s popularity. He was the third highest vote getter statewide in 2008. But look who he beat in total votes – both McCain/Palin in a battleground state and McCrory.
1. Perdue (2.146 millionn votes),
2. Obama (2.142 million votes)
3. Dalton (2.133 million votes)
4. McCain/Palin (2.128 million)
5. McCrory (2.001 million)
44 percent – Anything that keeps Dalton out of the general election helps McCrory. As I wrote here, 44 percent is roughly the percentage of registered Democrats in the state who are black. If current Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who is black, jumps into the Democratic primary, unaffiliated black voters will also likely cross over to vote. If Foxx is the only black guy in the field, on the back of the envelope, he has a good shot at winning the primary if two or three white Democrats get in and split the vote, which they surely will.
With Foxx and another highly qualified, serious black candidate in a crowded primary field, there are still enough black votes to really boost a major metropolitan black candidate.
It’s a lot for a highly popular Democrat candidate like Walter Dalton to counter, but it could be done, especially if a white Democratic candidate could somehow split the black community in the primary. That would be hard to do on the short notice Bev Perdue has given the party. If Foxx got in and won the primary, there is no telling how he’d fare against McCrory. It would be fascinating to watch.
31.4% – Again, as I wrote the other day, this is now essentially a Democrat or Democrat leaning state. It’s not deep blue, but rather a purpley blue, but definitely blue. And it is a state that has elected just two GOP governors since Reconstruction. The last one, Jim Martin, left office in 1993.
That, too, will give McCrory an uphill climb. Here’s what I wrote on that Friday:
It is common knowledge in the campaign world that GOP registration in a state or district has to be at 35 percent for the GOP to have a serious chance at winning. It’s at 31.4 percent. Unaffiliated registration is 24.5 percent. Democrat registration is 43.8 percent. To win, McCrory or another Republican must turn out the GOP, not too hard in an presidential year, and capture almost all of the the unaffiliated vote, or some of the unafilliated vote and some of the Democrat vote, not an easy thing to do.
McCrory, or any other Republican, could really struggle against someone who doesn’t start the race with high, built-in negatives like Perdue had.
Given that … Perdue’s announcement that she won’t run again was a huge blow to the state GOP — and to McCrory.
What’s fortunate is that Perdue made her announcement at the last minute, which will force her party to scramble for the rest of the campaign since the planning for most governor’s campaigns starts years before the primary election date. McCrory will have to work even harder. And he can’t make a mistake. Not one.