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Pat McCrory: 'Extremely discouraging' for No Labels not to find candidate

Pat McCrory from his time as governor.
NC DOT communications

Former Charlotte Mayor and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said in an interview that it was “discouraging” that No Labels couldn’t find people to run on a so-called unity ticket for president and vice president.

McCrory was a No Labels national co-chair before stepping down a month ago. The group announced last week it wouldn’t field candidates for a third-party presidential bid.

“To have it end in this way without finding a candidate that could win was extremely discouraging,” McCrory said. “But it was always the right decision. Because we have always said if we can’t find the right candidate we would pull the plug, regardless of how much time and money we put into it.”

No Labels had been able to secure ballot access in several states, including North Carolina. But the group faced pushback from Democrats who said the group would tilt the election to Donald Trump if it fielded a candidate and siphoned off votes in close states.

McCrory had dismissed such criticisms.

But No Labels canceled its planned convention in Dallas for April.

McCrory left in mid-March. Then another No Labels co-chair, former Connecticut Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, died two weeks later due to complications from a fall.

No Labels courted several centrist candidates, all of whom said no. The highest profile was West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who declined to run.

“There’s no doubt that he could have been a president or vice president on the ticket and gave us a chance to win, but it didn’t happen,” McCrory said. “We had a lot of people who wanted to be on the ticket, and we approached a lot of people who we thought would have the chance to win on the ticket and the match just didn’t occur.”

McCrory said he left the group on his own. He also said he wanted to focus on a new political TV show he’s hosting for PBS Charlotte, called "Unspun," which debuts Friday April 12.

“It just saddens me,” McCrory said about No Labels not finding a candidate. “But for many of us who don’t want to vote for Trump or Biden there’s really not much choice now.”

McCrory said he will vote in November. He declined to say whom he will pick.


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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.