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Mitch Perry Report for 3.30.16 – What happened to the moderate, affable Pat McCrory?

Back in 2009-2010, the folks behind the Moving Hillsborough Forward brought Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory to Tampa on three different occasions to advise local officials on how to pass the one-cent sales tax referendum for transit on the November 2010 ballot in Hillsborough County.

As we all remember, the measure went down to a resounding defeat, but McCrory came off to most of the local media as well. I used the adjective “engaging” on at least one occasion to describe McCrory. “Affable” could be another description.  A moderate Republican, McCrory had lost the 2008 gubernatorial election in North Carolina, but did go on to win in 2012, and is currently running f0r re-election this year.

He’s become pretty famous over the past week, and for all the wrong reasons. I’m wondering what happened to that engaging, affable moderate?

McCrory has been all over the media of late, after signing a new bill that overrides Charlotte’s protections for the LGBT community, a.k.a. “the bathroom bill.”

The Governor has been angrily dismissing critics, including the media, for what he says has been inaccurate reporting.

“I hope the media starts putting out more accurate information on the facts between a basic common sense bill which allows businesses to determine their own restroom and shower and locker room facilities, not government,” McCrory said on Monday.

The bill create a mandatory statewide anti-discrimination policy that excludes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the New York Times. 

The bill is creating an avalanche of problems for McCrory.

Bank of America, which has its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., announced on Tuesday that it was joining a list of over 80 chief executives in objecting to the new law.

Georgia was facing the same level of opprobrium with their own bill that was depicted as being an anti-LGBT law, but Governor Nathan Deal vetoed it on Monday.

McCrory is doubling down, and it doesn’t look good for him or for North Carolina. And yes, it’s very political. The state’s Attorney General, Democrat Roy Cooper, says now he won’t defend it in court. “Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back,” he said.

Cooper is running against McCrory for governor in the fall, and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out for the remaining of this year.

In other news…

Kathy Castor and other Democratic activists say enough is enough, and they’re calling on the GOP Senate to fulfill their Constitutional duties and give Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland an up or down vote.

A bill sponsored by Tampa Republican Dana Young will allow Tampa and Hillsborough county developers to now play by the same rules as everyone else in the state when it comes to the size of a restaurant that serves alcohol.

Pinellas Congressman David Jolly had a private audience with Bibi Netanyahu on Tuesday, where he followed that up by calling for the U.S. to up D.C.’s annual foreign aid contribution to Israel from $3.1 billion to $5 billion.

Drugs are a big issue in America this year. Sarasota’s Vern Buchanan applauded President Obama’s proposals to deal with the nation’s drug problem. Meanwhile in Pasco County, Sheriff Chris Nocco blamed a panhandling problem in part on the designer drug Spice.

At that same town hall in Pasco, state Senator Wilton Simpson extolled the virtues of what the Legislature just accomplished this past session, things he said the audience probably hadn’t heard of because of the news media (bias?).

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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