In the four years since he lost the governor's race, Pat McCrory has courted Republican conservatives. It was the group where he showed the most weakness during the 2008 primary; some were skeptical of his support for a sales tax hike to help finance a rapid light rail system in Charlotte.
"In my view, McCrory has a enthusiasm gap with some conservatives, particularly in the east," said Marc Rotterman, a Republican media strategist based in Raleigh. "I think he needs to explain his tenure as mayor of Charlotte, especially when it comes to the sales tax, which was used to fund light rail."
At the state GOP convention in Winston-Salem in 2010, McCrory called for passage of an Arizona-type law against illegal immigrants. In perhaps his biggest move, McCrory formed a close working relationship with the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group with ties to Raleigh businessman Art Pope. With AFP, he toured the state working to defeat President Barack Obama's health care bill. He recorded phone calls to state lawmakers to defeat a bill to extend public financing of elections to some statewide offices, and to pass a voter ID bill. He signed the group's pledge to a Taxpayer's Bill of Rights that would limit spending to inflation and population growth. Read more here.