Volatile Climate Makes N.C. Governor Vulnerable
LGBT bathroom bill, strong Democratic challenger put McCrory on defense

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory faces a tough re-election fight against state Attorney General Roy Cooper. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Pat McCrory was the first Republican elected governor of North Carolina in 20 years, so it’s no surprise that his re-election prospects are challenging. But the governor looked like a narrow favorite this year until the nationwide controversy over House Bill 2: Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.  

The bill spurred a national conversation about public bathrooms and whether transgender people may use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, even if it doesn’t match the gender on their birth certificate. Politically, the issue has enflamed both sides.  

[In North Carolina, LGBT Bill is Political and Personal] McCrory already faced a difficult race against state Attorney General Roy Cooper, whom Democrats have been trying to get to run for higher office for years. And Donald Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket could present another challenge for the governor.  

Unlike GOP Gov. Mike Pence, who sparked a firestorm over the way he handled Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year , McCrory only has less than six months before Election Day against a stronger challenger and in a more competitive state. McCrory has trailed Cooper in five public polls dating back to February.  

[Meet the 'Data Guy' Behind North Carolina's Republicans] We’re changing The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating from Tilts Republican to Pure Tossup , but this race could deteriorate even further for McCrory and the GOP.  

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