RALEIGH – A recent poll by the Civitas Institute asking voters which of the 2020 NC Republican primary candidates they supported put former Governor Pat McCrory on top. What’s that you say? Former Governor Pat McCrory already toyed with and seemingly ruled out a primary challenge of Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest for governor in 2020?
Not so fast. When asked for comments regarding the poll, and if he wanted to run, McCrory demurred, saying only, “This is a decision for me and my family.”
— Jim Morrill (@jimmorrill) December 11, 2019
With 2020 just a few weeks away, and assuming the poll is even close to accurate, a late entry by McCrory would certainly be a game changer. Long expected to run for governor after two terms as lieutenant governor, Dan Forest has one primary opponent in State House Representative Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), who announced this summer, yet most early cycle challenger rumors (Tillis, McCrory) seemed to dissipate over 2019.
Polls often include hypothetical candidates when they are conducted far out from an election date, before the field has materialized. Yet when a poll of voter support is conducted less than three months from an election when filing has already begun (2020 primaries are March 3), it’s purpose is ostensibly to take the pulse of the electorate among the established field.
This poll throws McCrory in there and, depending on McCrory’s ultimate decision, could throw the Republican primary for a loop. While the former Republican governor remains relevant, including him in a poll this close in proximity to primaries is curious. Is it wishful thinking? Simple curiosity? Who knows; but the Forest camp is certainly hoping the former governor is really enjoying life in the private sector.
Time will tell — and time is short — so the ‘What if’s should be but transitory. In the mean time we can conduct our own, admittedly unscientific, poll; what do you think?