Under the Dome

Pat McCrory

Office District Status
Charlotte Mayor Incumbent
Party In Office Since Term Ends
Republican 1995 2009
Level of Government  
Local Government  
Date of Birth Birthplace Now Lives In
October 17, 1956 Columbus, OH Charlotte, NC


Pat McCrory failed to break the Charlotte curse. The seven-term mayor of Charlotte was the Republican nominee for governor in 2008, though his predecessors have not fared well in statewide bids and he decided against a run for governor in 2004. In office, he has supported a local sales tax for public transit and led the push for a recently opened light-rail line. In 2007, he helped defeat a referendum to repeal the tax. After defeating former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, state Sen. Fred Smith and pecan farmer Elbie Powers in the 2008 GOP primary, he lost to Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue in the November election. In December, he announced he would not run for an eighth term as mayor, but left open the possibility of running for another office.


He worked as a basketball referee in the 1970s.  


National Federation of Independent Business


Marital Status

Pat McCrory is the longest-serving mayor in Charlotte history and was the Republican candidate for governor in 2008.

Early Life and Education

Patrick Lloyd "Pat" McCrory was born Oct. 17, 1956, in Columbus, Ohio, to Rollin "Mac" and Audrey McCrory. His father was an engineer and entrepeneur who once served on the city council in Worthington, Ohio.

He is the youngest of four children, with two sisters and one brother. 

Politics came early in McCrory's life. When his father had to miss a city council meeting, he often dispatched McCrory, then 9 or 10 years old, to sit in the audience and take notes.

When he was nine, he moved with his family to Sedgefield, a suburb of Greensboro. There, he attended Jamestown Elementary, Millis Road Elementary and Jamestown Junior High. 

At the age of 16, he became student body president at Ragsdale High School in Greensboro. He graduated in 1974.

He then earned a bachelor's degree in political science and education from Catawba College in Salisbury in 1978. He received a North Carolina teaching certificate that year.

Professional Career

While studying to become a teacher, McCrory fell into a very different career.

During college, he spent the summers working construction and reading meters for Duke Energy, suffering two dog bites.

After graduating in 1978, he decided against teaching and instead went to work full-time for Duke Energy. A management training program put him through a rotation of digging ditches and climbing electric poles as well as stints in office jobs.

In 1988, his job was eliminated during cutbacks, but Duke Energy offered him a different job a week later.

He rose through a variety of recruiting and training jobs to become a senior adviser with Duke Energy's Business and Economic Development Group.

After announcing his run for governor, McCrory resigned from the company. He and his wife lived on his $39,000-a-year salary as mayor during the campaign. 


He and his wife, Ann Gordon McCrory, married in 1988. He has said he regrets not adopting after learning that he and his wife would be unable to have a child of their own.

The couple has a yellow Labrador retriever named Mic.  

McCrory is close with his sister Linda, a Raleigh schoolteacher. A nephew, Patrick Sebastian, worked on his campaign.

Political Career

McCrory started out as a Democrat, even interning during college for U.S. Rep. L. Richardson Preyer. In 1980, he switched parties to support Ronald Reagan

He served on an at-large seat on the Charlotte City Council from 1989 to 1995, winning elections in 1989, 1991 and 1993. In office, he pushed for a citywide curfew for children younger than 16. 

In 1995, he was elected the city's mayor, succeeding Richard Vinroot, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. At 39, he was the city's youngest mayor.

He is now in his seventh term, the longest-serving mayor in city history. (Two other mayors, John Belk and Stan Brookshire, served four terms.)

Although the mayor has limited powers in Charlotte's council-manager form of government, McCrory made use of the mayoral bully pulpit to push his ideas and used the veto 22 times.

In elections from 1995 to 2007, he has never won less than 56 percent of the vote, and in 1997 he took 78 percent. In the 2007 mayoral election, he defeated Democratic state Rep. Beverly Earle, 61 to 39 percent. 

As many as 200,000 residents of Charlotte have never known another mayor. 

In 2002, he founded the N.C. Metropolitan Coalition, a group of 23 mayors who meet regularly on urban issues such as transportation and crime.

Crossing Party Lines 

McCrory has succeeded as a Republican mayor in a town where Democrats and independents outnumber Republicans 3-to-1 by reaching across the aisles. His most vocal critics are conservative Republicans.

Still, he has maintained ties to national Republicans.

From December of 2000 through 2005, McCrory served as president of Republican Mayors and Local Officials, a Washington-based 527 advocacy group. On behalf of that group, he spoke at the Republican national convention in New York City in 2004.

In 2003, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to a Homeland Security Advisory Committee. In 2005, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole unsuccessfully touted McCrory for a high-level post within the Bush administration.

In July of 2008, Bush attended a high-dollar fundraiser in Raleigh for McCrory, although the two did not appear in public together. 

Light Rail and Other Projects

McCrory's biggest achievement as mayor has been a light rail line. 

In 1997, he lobbied the legislature and Mecklenburg County voters for a half-cent local sales tax for public transportation.

In recent years, the tax has raised about $70 million annually in revenue, and cost a family earning $57,000 a year about $39. It has also given Mecklenburg the highest sales tax in the state of North Carolina.

In 2007, he helped defeat a referendum to repeal the tax, which helped pay for the light-rail line and pay for buses. On Nov. 24, 2007, the Lynx Blue Line went into service along South Boulevard. Convinced it would be a failure, many conservatives called it the "McCrory Line."

Future extensions are planned to UNC-Charlotte and to the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport

Still, during his run for governor, McCrory said that light rail projects would not necessarily work in other cities in the state.

McCrory also championed big projects such as an uptown arena for the Charlotte Bobcats and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 

2008 Gubernatorial Primary

In 2003, McCrory considered running for governor, but ultimately decided against it.

In November of 2007, he announced that he was again considering running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

On Jan. 15, 2008, he officially kicked off his campaign on the steps of the former Jamestown Elementary, now a public library.

In the primary, he faced former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, state Sen. Fred Smith and pecan farmer Elbie Powers.

He was endorsed by former Gov. Jim Martin and former Gov. Jim Holshouser

In the primary, he won with 46 percent of the vote, followed by Smith at 37 percent, Graham at nine percent and Orr at 7 percent. Powers received less than one percent. 

His win was attributed to effective advertising, strong fundraising and a solid base of supporters in Charlotte.

2008 Gubernatorial Campaign 

In the general election, McCrory faced Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, and Duke University political science professor Mike Munger, a Libertarian.

He campaigned for increased use of nuclear power and opening up areas off the North Carolina coastline to oil and natural gas drilling, ending a de facto moratorium on the death penalty, reforming state transportation spending, delaying the opening of a new mental health hospital, limiting lottery advertising on television and passing anti-gang legislation.

He pledged to hold regular Q&A sessions with reporters and allow access to his records if elected.

He was criticized in ads by Perdue and the Alliance for North Carolina, a 527 group set up to attack him, for opposing embryonic stem cell research, accepting a free trip to Paris, opposing a minimum wage increase, criticizing Perdue's plan for free community college tuition and supporting private school vouchers.

His campaign ran mostly positive ads that made few specific claims or promises, contrasting its approach with that of its opponent, whom it referred to as "Negative Bev." At the same time, the Republican Governors Association, a national group officially separate from his campaign, ran ads attacking Perdue.

McCrory criticized Perdue for being part of a "culture of corruption" in Raleigh and compared the state to Louisiana under Huey Long.

He maintained fairly close ties to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, speaking at a rally with vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in Greenville and watching the second presidential debate at a pizza restaurant with her. 

In the general election, he was endorsed by a number of the state's largest newspapers' editorial boards and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Though Perdue was narrowly ahead in polls over the summer, the race tightened as the election drew closer, with many observers calling the race a toss-up. Interest in McCrory among voters seemed high as his profile was a top attraction on Under the Dome.

On election day, the unprecedented get-out-the-vote effort of Barack Obama's presidential campaign held down what could have been McCrory gains in urban areas.

McCrory pledged to offer constructive criticism of Perdue's administration.

In December, he announced he would not run for an eighth term as mayor, but left open the possibility of running for other elected office.

Research and reporting by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Mark Johnson.


Former economic development consultant
Duke Energy

Community Involvement:
Not specified.

Contact Info


bachelor of arts
Catawba College
Graduated: 1978


Not specified.
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