It’s hard to say exactly when the tide that landed Republicans in the soup began to whirl and eddy – maybe it was on Election Night, or when the legislature came to town, or when the Moral Monday demonstrations ignited and breathed life into the Democrats.
But no matter how or when it began, last month when the newspapers reported one of the Governor’s Cabinet Secretaries had hired two of his twenty-four year old campaign aides and was paying them salaries of $85,000 and $87,500 respectively – it was clear there was a hole in the Republican boat.
Next the Governor ran head on into another ambush – when the same department hired two consultants for $25,000 a month each.
Then, piling Pelion on Ossa, the legislature – in half an hour – overrode two of his vetoes.
The Governor was having a hard month and, suddenly, left and right polls were popping up showing the Governor’s popularity dropping and Democrats lining up to run against him – one Democratic poll even showed Roy Cooper, Josh Stein and Charlie Meeker all beating Governor McCrory.
In politics there’s an old axiom: When there’s a hole in your boat – fix it. Don’t wait. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Fix it. And that’s exactly what the Governor set out to do – his supporters put a TV ad on the air to restore his sagging approval ratings and, a month from now, we may be talking about Governor McCrory’s remarkable comeback.
But, then again, that depends on the Democrats. They’re saying the Governor made one big slip in his ad when he said he’d cracked down on waste and fraud in Medicaid – because that’s the department where those former campaign aides and consultants work.
Which leads to a million dollar question: Are Roy Cooper, Josh Stein or Charlie Meeker going to step to the plate and make the Democrats’ case in an ad of their own?
That could turn out to be – for Democrats – the first test of the next Governor’s campaign.
Because if they don’t it’s a pretty safe bet the Governor’s ad beats no ad hands down.