RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory announced Thursday that he won’t try to recapture his old office in 2020, but will continue to consider a U.S. Senate bid in 2022.
The Republican revealed his decision on his morning radio program in Charlotte, where he served as mayor for a record 14 years.
McCrory had said at the start of 2019 that he would spend the year examining whether to run for governor in 2020, and also would take a look at the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Richard Burr.
Burr has said his current term would be his last. U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro has already expressed interest in running to succeed Burr.
“Maybe it’s time for someone from outside of Washington to come be a problem solver inside Washington,” McCrory said on WBT. “Because of (Burr’s) retirement, I’m going to seriously consider running for that office in 2022.” He revealed no timetable for a decision.
The 2020 candidate filing deadline is Friday. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is seeking reelection next year, while Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and state Rep. Holly Grange are running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in March.
McCrory, 63, was buoyed by a recent poll that appeared to show he still had high name recognition among likely Republican voters. But he said Thursday that he didn’t want to cause division within the state GOP by getting into the gubernatorial race. McCrory said both Grange and Forest had qualifications to be governor. He also discussed the difficulties of quickly ramping up a statewide campaign.
McCrory has run in the past three gubernatorial elections. He lost to Democrat Beverly Perdue in 2008, won the office in 2012 when he defeated Walter Dalton, then lost to Cooper in 2016 by barely 10,000 votes out of more than 4.7 million ballots cast.
McCrory’s single, four-year term was marked by working with the GOP-dominated legislature to pass a massive tax overhaul, transportation funding reform and conservative policies.
He was harshly criticized for signing into law the state’s “bathroom bill,” which required transgender people to use public bathrooms aligned with the gender on their birth certificate. The 2016 law was partially repealed a year later, after Cooper became governor.