State of the race memo

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Trey Nix, Campaign Manager, Cooper for North Carolina

RE: State Of The Race For Governor

We are now less than 60 days away from Election Day and Attorney General Roy Cooper is in a strong position to win. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Attorney General Cooper has consistently outraised Governor Pat McCrory. The campaign entered July 1 with a $3.1 million cash on hand advantage. A number that is likely to have increased since the last public report, considering it has grown each time prior.

Governor McCrory has repeatedly been rated as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, and it’s easy to see why.

Over 2016 the race remained deadlocked, but in the last 6 weeks Roy Cooper has taken the lead in multiple public polls showing that Governor McCrory’s negative favorability and job ratings are finally catching up to him in the vote.

This lead also coincides with our campaign having the ability to communicate before Governor McCrory. For the last month, both campaigns and the Republican Governors Association have been on TV. Yet, Governor McCrory has been unable to move his polling numbers.

Why has he struggled? It could be the economic losses from House Bill 2, multiple pay-to-play scandals, the fact that teachers are leaving the state because of an underfunded education system, or it could be because working families haven’t felt the economic recovery that Governor McCrory has tried to claim credit for.

The bottom line is North Carolina voters are not buying what Governor McCrory is selling.


In the second period of 2016, Roy Cooper raised an unprecedented $5.12 million and reported $9.4 million cash on hand. In total, Cooper has raised a historic $12.7 million, more at this point in the campaign than any other gubernatorial race in North Carolina history.

During the last reporting period, more than 15,000 individuals donated to Roy Cooper—totaling 26,000 donors to the campaign so far—and more than 11,000 donations were $100 or less. In addition, 92 percent of Cooper’s donors are North Carolinians.


In all polling from the last month, Cooper has shown a growing lead. Just last week, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed Roy Cooper ahead of Governor McCrory by 7 points, 51-44. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Cooper with a 6% advantage.


Also last week, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a widely-respected and nonpartisan publication of the University of Virginia Center For Politics, moved the North Carolina governor’s race from a “toss-up” to “leans Democratic.” This is a major shift for a race that was listed as “leans Republican” as recently as April.

Voter Outreach

Not only has Cooper consistently outraised Governor McCrory, but Democrats also have a stronger ground game. While North Carolina Democrats are building a strong voter turnout organization, the Trump campaign doesn’t have a single office open in the state.

A memo recently released by Hillary For America highlights the difference:

“In addition to the state’s 15 electoral votes, Democrats are working to elect Roy Cooper as Governor, Deborah Ross as U.S. Senator, and win several key seats in the state legislature. To achieve all of these goals, we’ve opened 30 coordinated campaign offices. We have engaged more than 300,000 North Carolinians in the campaign, and signed up more than 40,000 people to volunteer for the campaign.”

The Choice

Since day one, we have said this election would be about who can bring jobs to North Carolina and improve the economy for working families. Governor McCrory has been claiming credit for the “Carolina Comeback” while working families have been asking – a comeback for whom? The truth is, it’s only those at the top who have made a comeback under Governor McCrory.

Under Governor McCrory, North Carolina has lagged behind the economic growth of the rest of the country. Wages are stagnant, the cost of college is skyrocketing, we’re not attracting enough high paying jobs, and our schools are starved for resources. And many teachers are leaving for better pay and more respect.

Despite this reality, Governor McCrory’s core argument for reelection has been based on his purported jobs record. What was already a tough sell has become much harder with a growing list of economic fallout from House Bill 2. It’s now more clear than ever that Governor McCrory is putting his partisan political agenda ahead of the best interests of working families.