A Republican group has moved quickly to take advantage of a change in election laws to raise money from well-heeled contributors across the country to help elect Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory as North Carolina's next governor.
Most of it has come from a handful of contributors who have shown little or no interest in North Carolina politics in the past. Contributors include top executives of the Coors Brewing Co. in Colorado and the Curves fitness center chain based in Waco, Tex.
The PAC's biggest contributor is James L. Barksdale of Ridgeland, Miss., the former chief executive officer of Netscape. He gave $100,000.
McCrory has made a centerpiece of his campaign changing the culture of state government, which he says is controlled by big-money special interests. But his campaign is welcoming the association's help.
"We certainly aren't concerned if business people from around the country are interested in this race," said Richard Hudson, McCrory's campaign manager. "Especially given the fact that labor union money and special interest money is going to be flowing into the Democratic party to support our opponent."
Democratic rival Beverly Perdue's campaign spokesman, David Kochman, said the McCrory campaign's acceptance of the PAC shows McCrory is not serious about campaign finance reform.
"I think it's ironic that a guy who claims he wants to change the political culture would be welcoming this type of activity," Kochman said.