By Jill Osborn
Special to Jones & Blount
KERNERSVILLE – The fanfare for the North Carolina’s 75th gubernatorial election is upon us, and current Gov. Pat McCrory hopes he will be the one sworn into office in 2017. Rather than holding a news conference to announce his candidacy, McCrory first took to Twitter.
McCrory, a Republican, posted a nearly three-minute video Tuesday evening noting why he chose to run and what he believes still needs to be done for the state’s economy. The governor echoed the same sentiments on Twitter, writing, “Team, I’m running for governor because our story isn’t over. There’s still more to do to rebuild N.C.”
Following his announcement, McCrory kicked off his campaign Wednesday afternoon with a speech at Salem-One in Kernersville. About 100 were in attendance at the packaging company that grew from a very small family business to a large, successful company.
Many of the attendees included GOP representatives from various counties, elected officials, and candidates up for election. It did not appear to be an event open to the public. However, many media outlets were invited. The N.C. GOP also released a statement around the same time of McCrory’s speech stating it was throwing all its support in the governor’s corner.
During his speech, McCrory talked about how “Raleigh had lost its mojo” when he first came to office nearly three years ago. He spoke of his accomplishments during his time in office, including shrinking the unemployment rate. He spoke of fiscal responsibility with the budget, reminding people that during his administration, the state has not only gotten out of debt, but has also created a rainy day fund as well.
Michael Mallory, who works as a folder-operator at Salem-One, volunteered to be one of the employees flanking one side of the stage as McCrory gave his speech.
“I didn’t know all of the financial part of his administration until today,” Mallory observed. “I liked that we have a savings now and thought that was an important point.”
McCrory ended his speech with three basic principles he says he has followed since day one as governor and as mayor of Charlotte.
“I want to help those who can’t help themselves while encouraging those who can,” McCrory said. “We must continue to successfully walk the line between continuing our economic prosperity and growth while also protecting our quality of life and environment that brought many of us here and why we call North Carolina our home.”
McCrory said his number one responsibility is “to implement a vision and a strategy to prepare this state for the next generation so they have the same opportunities as my mom and dad had when they came and my brothers and sisters and wife had when they came to North Carolina.”
Aaron Berlin, an attendee who is running for judge for the Forsyth County District Court, said he liked how McCrory focused on future generations.
“One of the things I agree with Gov. McCrory about is that it is important to work with kids. It is important we get out into the public and let these kids know that no matter their circumstances, they have the chance to be a governor, judge, doctor, or whatever they want to be.”
There are two Democrats running in the gubernatorial race so far: N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper and Ken Spaulding, a lawyer in Durham.