McCrory backs Claude Pope for GOP chairman

Source: News Observer.

Gov. Pat McCrory has endorsed Claude Pope Jr. has his choice to lead the state Republican Party for the next two years.

Pope, a Brunswick County businessman and former Wake County Party GOP chairman, announced earlier this week his intentions to seeking the state party chairmanship at the convention in Charlotte in June. The current chairman, former Congressman Robin Hayes announced Monday that he would not seek a second full term.

“I was delighted to learn that Claude E. Pope Jr. is going to seek the chairmanship of the North Carolina Republican Party, now that our current Chairman, Robin Hayes, has announced that he will not seek another term at the party convention in June,” McCrory said in a statement.

“I have known Claude Pope for many years, and he will make a great leader for our party in the coming term,” McCrory said. “His combination of business experience and political leadership make him well qualified for this important job, and I want everyone to know that he has my strong support and enthusiastic endorsement.”

Governors have traditionally played a strong role in recommending to their party their choice for party chairman, although the Democrats moved away from that practice under Mike Easley and Bev Perdue.

Under the last Republican Gov. Jim Martin, Bob Bradshaw and Jack Hawke, served as GOP chairs.

One reason why Hayes apparently chose not to seek a second term, is that McCrory indicated that he wanted his own man leading the party. Pope is politically close not only to McCrory but to such key McCrory advisors as McCrory and Art Pope, a distant cousein.

Claude Pope comes from a prominent Republican family. His father was Martin’s commerce secretary.

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