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Cornelius News

Biggest losers: McCrory, tolls in Cornelius


March 17. By Dave Yochum. There were two big losers in Tuesday’s primary elections, at least in the four Cornelius precincts.

Gov. Pat McCrory was trounced by fellow GOP-er Robert Brawley, who ran on an anti-toll platform. By inference, of course, the notion of a 50-year contract with a Spanish company to add toll lanes to I-77 was also a big loser.

“The voters here saw a flawed contract, no relief from congestion unless you are wealthy, and people think government officials are just paying them lip service. Voters have valid concerns about the toll project. Everyone feels like they are locked in an exercise in futility, so they made their position known at the ballot box,” said NC Sen. Jeff Tarte, the former mayor of Cornelius.

Statewide, however, the governor won 81.8 percent of the vote, compared to 10.6 percent for Brawley. In Mecklenburg as a whole, McCrory captured 78.35 percent of the GOP ballots, vs. Brawley’s 15.87. In Cornelius, heretofore a GOP establishment stronghold, Brawley took all four precincts by at least a percentage point or two. In 208 at Bethel Presbyterian Church, Brawley won 58.2 percent to 36.8 percent for McCrory.

In Iredell, Brawley’s home county, the GOP contest went 56-39 in McCrory’s favor.

“Regardless of what anyone thinks, voters in North Mecklenburg and Southern Iredell are not going to let go of this issue,” Tarte said.

In Huntersville, incumbent NC Rep. Charles Jeter is ahead by a mere 28 votes in a contested election. Jeter, of course, came to the anti-toll party late. There is a recount under way; Jeter has admitted his opposition came too late to help the cause.

Outside of the toll issue and the NCDOT, Republican pundits say the governor has done a good job. But are the tolls in Lake Norman enough to sink him in November?

One top GOP campaign consultant says McCrory is “vulnerable” in the Roy Cooper contest come November. Tarte agrees.

“The failure of his Department of Transportation to act on the wishes of 90 percent of the area citizens has led to a virtual uprising that I hope is addressed before the General Election,” Tarte said.

Cornelius Town Commissioner Dave Gilroy, a Republican, shifted his endorsement from McCrory to Brawley.

Pronouncing McCrory’s win “no surprise,” he nevertheless said the governor lost thousands of votes due to the toll issue.

I have opposed the toll roads because, primarily, I don’t think it is fair. We have built good quality roads all around the state, and now the NCDOT, an agency of the governor, says go ahead in Lake Norman? This will be an issue in November,” Gilroy declared.