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Politics

Lassiter fails to ride McCrory's popularity into office

http://66.225.205.104/JR20091104a.mp3

Outgoing Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory has a 60 percent approval rating according to the latest survey by Public Policy Polling. So why didn't that propel fellow Republican John Lassiter to victory in the mayor's race? WFAE's Julie Rose reports: A popular departing mayor can often give a boost to a candidate from the same party. But that's usually because the outgoing mayor campaigns heavily in support of his replacement. Such was not the case for John Lassiter. Pat McCrory says Lassiter asked him to lay low. "I've stated all along that I was for John, but John kinda needed to be his own man in this election and that was kinda his decision," says McCrory. "And I respect that. When called up, I'd helped him, but otherwise, both candidates ran their own campaigns." Shortly after admitting defeat last night, Lassiter said he had no regrets about keeping some distance from McCrory in his campaign. He says he needed to run on his own steam. Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen says that may have backfired because Lassiter didn't woo enough support from white Democrats who have been willing to cross party lines for McCrory. "And it seems very possible that if McCrory had had more of an active role in making the case to those white Democrats who've been willing to cross over, over the years, that Lassiter would be solid continuation of McCrory's moderate brand of leadership, that could have helped Lassiter to get the votes he needed with that group to get over the top," says Jensen. . . or at the very least, the race would have been more of a toss-up. Lassiter lost by about 3,200 votes. If Lassiter failed to ride McCrory's coattails, Foxx did a good job riding Obama's - in fact, better than Jensen's polls projected. "Clearly black voters did turn out in record numbers for a local election yesterday, so I think that's part of it," says Jensen. "But there's also just a much stronger Democratic campaign operation in Charlotte now that was sort of set up as a result of the Obama campaign." Jensen says Foxx was able to tap those volunteers to get out his own votes.