The Charlotte Observer has its own post-mortem on Pat McCrory.
He got national backing. McCrory caught the attention of national party leaders, with figures such as South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford encouraging him to run.
Voters didn't like their options. Polls taken before McCrory got in showed that half of Republicans were undecided. The other candidates were not well-known.
He had a solid base. McCrory was well-known in the Charlotte media market, home to a third of the state's Republican electorate. He won 80 percent of Mecklenburg County.
He raised money quickly. He transferred $400,000 from his mayoral campaign, then managed to raise $1.2 million in three months thanks to connections in Charlotte and statewide.
He had executive experience. As a seven-term mayor, McCrory was used to the media spotlight. He used his background to good effect in debates and ads.