GOP’s McCrory tries to stay alive in North Carolina; Justice, Cole battle for open seat in West Virginia
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
(CFP) — Voters in North Carolina and West Virginia are picking governors in the November 8 election, with polls showing tight races in both states.
In North Carolina, incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is running for a second term against Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper in what has become the nation’s most watched — and most expensive — gubernatorial battle.
McCrory rode a GOP wave into office in 2012, but the Republican-controlled legislature’s passage of a controversial voter ID law and measures favored by religious conservatives have made the governor a lightning rod.
The issue that has dominated the race is McCrory’s decision to sign a law requiring transgendered students to use bathrooms that match their gender of birth, rather than their gender of identity.
McCrory has continued to defend the law, even after a number of businesses scuttled expansion plans and the NCAA, NBA and ACC pulled events from the state.
Cooper not only opposed the measure, but he also refused to defend it in court when students and the federal government took legal action to overturn it.
In West Virginia, Democrats who have seen their once dominant hold on state politics slip away are hoping to revive their fortunes with Jim Justice, a billionaire coal mine owner best known for his efforts to revive the state’s famed Greenbrier Resort.
He faces Republican State Senate President Bill Cole, who an auto dealer from Bluefield who became leader of the chamber in 2015 after the GOP captured a Senate majority for the first time in 83 years.
This seat is open because Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is term-limited. A Republican has not been elected governor in the Mountaineer State since 1996.