Politics & Government

Could a spot in the Trump administration be next for Pat McCrory?

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks to supporters as his wife Ann McCrory listens, at an election rally in Raleigh on Nov. 9.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks to supporters as his wife Ann McCrory listens, at an election rally in Raleigh on Nov. 9. AP

Now that he’s conceded the gubernatorial race to Democrat Roy Cooper, what’s the next career stop for Gov. Pat McCrory?

Before his election in 2012, McCrory was best-known for his long tenure as Charlotte mayor, but the Republican has also worked in the private sector at Duke Energy, the Moore & Van Allen law firm and his brother’s consulting firm.

John Lassiter, a longtime McCrory associate, said Monday that the governor has considered a few possibilities, but in recent weeks has been focused on whether there was a path to winning a close election with Cooper.

“He’s a young man,” Lassiter said. “He just turned 60. I don’t think he’s ready to retire and watch sunsets.”

Lassiter said McCrory could pursue public or private sector positions, saying he has “a lot to offer in a variety of areas.” He wouldn’t comment on specific options McCrory may be considering.

Lassiter said he didn’t know if McCrory has had any conversations with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, but he said the governor would be a good candidate for a position in the Republican’s administration, noting that he has “run public operations in a business-like way.”

“That is part of what is underway in Washington: to try to make an efficient and effective federal government,” Lassiter said. “And he’s done that at the state level and local level. I don’t know why you can’t carry those same skills to the national scale.”

Asked over the summer whether McCrory could get a job in his administration, Trump told The (Raleigh) News & Observer, “Certainly, it would be something I’d consider.”

A government publication called the Plum Book lists 9,000 patronage positions that could go to Trump supporters, although the Washington Post has reported that the new administration might want to trim these slots as it looks to reduce government bureaucracy.

At a rally in Wilmington the weekend before the election, Trump touted McCrory’s support, saying the governor had “been loyal to Trump from day one.” North Carolina was viewed as a key swing state in the election.

Former N.C. Gov. Jim Martin, also a Republican, said he talked to McCrory about two weeks ago, but McCrory was still focused on the election at the time.

Martin, who called McCrory a “good governor” who excelled at recruiting industry, also said the governor would be a good option for the Trump administration. Positions in the Commerce Department, the Energy Department and Housing and Urban Development could be good fits, he said.

“I don’t know if that’s what he wants to do,” Martin said. “He might want to go back into the private life for a while.”

After leaving Duke Energy in 2008 to run for governor – a bid that proved unsuccessful – McCrory went to work with his brother Phil in McCrory & Company, a private business consulting firm. He also joined two corporate boards, and later went to work at Moore & Van Allen as a public policy consultant before his successful gubernatorial run in 2012.

Political scientist Michael Bitzer of Catawba College said it’s possible McCrory could consider corporate positions or roles in the Trump administration. Another run for public office also can’t be ruled out, he said.

“I think certainly there’s still some opportunities for him,” Bitzer said. “It was a close election. I think he certainly has a base and could potentially have some political credentials to do a future run for another office. But what would that be? Who knows.”

Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker