Political notebook: McCrory’s “professional politician” claim leaves out important detail

Published 12:05 am Saturday, August 6, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

In a TV ad released this week, Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign called his opponent Roy Cooper “a professional politician.” However, McCrory has been involved in politics for nearly the same amount of time.

The advertisement called “Legacy” starts out by noting that Cooper has been involved in politics for 30 years. Then, McCrory’s ad uses phrases in a number of news articles to criticize Cooper’s history in politics. Some articles are from 1991, during Cooper’s time in the state legislature. Most of the headlines or phrases from news articles used to praise McCrory in the ad were published in 2016.

Criticism of candidates as “career politicians” is a popular one during elections. It’s used in campaigns at all levels.

The advertisement’s phrase about Cooper working in politics for 30 years is true. Cooper was elected to the N.C. House in 1986. He was 29 at the time. In 1991, he was elected to the N.C. Senate.

He then became attorney general in 2001 — an office he has held since.

As for McCrory, he entered the world of politics in 1989, when elected to the Charlotte City Council. He became mayor of Charlotte in 1995 and served for seven terms. He was the city of Charlotte’s longest-serving mayor.

So, at 30 years, Cooper has been in politics longer than McCrory but only by a few years.

McCrory cheers Virginia blocking transgender teen’s bathroom access

Gov. Pat McCrory this week cheered a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that could have implications for the controversial House Bill 2.

In a case involving a Virginia school board, a ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court means a transgender teen won’t be able to use the mens’ restroom until the court decides whether to hear the case. Because the case concerns whether a transgender person is able to use the bathroom that corresponds with his or her gender identity, it has implications for a lawsuit over House Bill 2.

If the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the Virginia case, a ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals would stand. That ruling said refusing to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity violated Title IX, a federal law that bans sex discrimination by schools receiving federal funds

In a news release, McCrory said he was happy with the Supreme Court’s decision to block the ruling. In preventing people from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, McCrory said his goal is to protect privacy. He also injected a bit of gubernatorial campaign rhetoric.

“The attorney general (Roy Cooper) should have fulfilled his responsibilities in this effort to defend our state’s common sense approach to this complex issue,” McCrory said.

The trial for a lawsuit over House Bill 2 is scheduled to begin in November. A federal judge heard oral arguments about whether to block enforcement of the law on Monday.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.