I’ve had some eye-opening discussions recently with two political pros with close ties to GOP candidates on the November ballot in North Carolina. ( They’ll be referenced henceforth as StrategistA and StrategistB.)
StrategistA told me:
“We’ve got one of the strongest tickets we’ve ever had here in North Carolina. Things are going so poorly for the Democrats at the national level that there is a tremendous opportunity for great Republican gains here in North Carolina. Yet, the state party is only talking up Romney and McCrory. McCrory is running around the state talking himself up and gobbling up all of the money. It’s becoming increasingly clear that those of us not named Pat or Mitt are on our own. ”
Both strategists tell me they have seen indications that the DC operations of the Republican Governors Association and The Republican National Committee have “hijacked” the Tar Heel State’s Republican campaign effort. Both told me it appears that the DC groups are focused on their singular interests (McCrory for the RGA, Mitt for the RNC) and down-ballot races are a DISTANT second.
According to Strategist B:
“We’ve got a stable of great candidates on the Republican ticket this year. Taking The White House, taking over the state’s congressional delegation, strengthening our majorities on Jones Street, securing a majority on the Council of State, and taking the governor and lieutenant governor posts could put us in a position to implement earth-shaking change in this state and this country.
In this political climate, all of that is a very realistic possibility. But, at NCGOP, they are focused on two and only two names: Romney and McCrory. They could be putting forth to the voters a serious limited government agenda. They could be saying this is the kind of change you’ll get by voting for our team. But, no, all we are getting is: ‘ Here are Mitt and Pat. They need some money. Here is an invitation to a fundraiser.’ ”
I asked StrategistB about the possibility that the state party is counting on presidential race coattails to lift all of the GOP campaigns to victory in November:
“Coattails in the presidential race? George W. Bush won our state handily in 2000 and 2004. Ask Richard Vinroot and Patrick Ballantine how well that worked for them.”
Both strategists say their frustrations are shared by operatives in other GOP campaigns across the state. My two sources tell me the non-presidential, non-gubernatorial Republican campaigns in the state are teaming up to help each other, in spite of Raleigh.
StrategistA told me:
“What good does it do to vote in Mitt or Pat if they don’t have any help? Reagan and Bush Sr. got hampered by Democrat majorities in Congress. Holshouser and Martin got rolled by Democrat majorities in the General Assembly. It’s about more than just Pat and Mitt. Voters need to be reminded that the Democrat team will raise your taxes and grow government, and that the GOP team will cut your taxes and shrink government. Pat and Mitt — by themselves — can’t implement all of the change the voters are demanding.”