Cover Story: Pat McCrory One-on-One

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Just one day before officially announcing his run for North Carolina governor former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is talking with WBTV about the political battle he faces.

After losing in 2008, Pat McCrory has his eyes set again on the top spot in North Carolina politics.

Four years ago he was late to the fundraising game, faced strong opposition in the GOP primary and was untested statewide.

This time Pat McCrory knows the state, has the cash, there may not be a primary and he won't face an incumbent come November.

"They're desperate. They need strong leadership and they don't care where the person lives anymore."

He says it's the people from outside Charlotte who've asked him to run again.

Pat McCrory says North Carolina's a much different state than the one who's rejected every Charlotte mayor dating back to Eddie Knox in the mid-80s - McCrory included - who's ever run for statewide office, the so-called "Charlotte curse."

"I don't think it has anything to do with Charlotte," he told us.  "In fact one of my big challenges is.. the reason a Charlotte mayor has not won in the past is because of Charlotte.. not because of the rest of the state."

Though he was elected a record seven times as Charlotte mayor, McCrory in November 2008 didn't carry his own county - Mecklenburg.

A strong get out the vote effort organized by Barack Obama's campaign and straight ticket voting helped sink McCrory's ship despite running what many believe was a better campaign than his opponent, Bev Perdue.

"I was not anticipating returning to politics. I have not been running for the last four years. I actually took time off to return back to the private sector because I've got house payments like everyone else," McCrory said.

But in the last three year McCrory has been criss-crossing the state currying favor with Republicans helping them get elected, raising money his war chest now has about $2.5 million and honing a strategy anticipating a round two with Bev Perdue.

Perdue took herself out of the running last week.

Democrats plan to attack McCrory for his work at a Charlotte law firm.

A video from the website accuses him of a potential conflict of interest in his employment with the law firm and having close relationships with top Republican leaders in the General Assembly.

Democrats obviously want to hold onto the governorship.  By the time Bev Perdue's term ends in January it will have been in Democratic hands for 20 years.. the 3rd longest run in the U.S. right after Washington and Oregon.

"I'm gonna present a vision of what I want this state to look like in the future and the leadership required to make it happen."

Four years ago when he ran for governor McCrory was just months into his seventh term as Charlotte mayor.  He jumped into the ring in January of 2008 and hadn't done a lot of fundraising.  This time is different.

Filing for office for all the candidates starts February 13th.

McCrory is announcing officially on Tuesday.  And he's doing it first on the internet, making an announcement on the web Tuesday morning followed by a speech and campaign kickoff Tuesday evening in Greensboro.

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