Thomas Stith, Chief of Staff for Pat McCrory? Thomas Stith, Chief of Staff for Pat McCrory.

After heading up the McCrory’s transition team, Stith, a former Durham City Councilman and one-time candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has been tasked with running the governor-elect’s administration. McCrory made the announcement in a Thursday press conference introducing Stith, along with two other senior members of his new administration.

Followers of Durham politics will remember Stith as the lone conservative voice on what remains a left-leaning city council. After serving for seven years, he lost a 2007 mayoral bid to Bill Bell. As noted by the Indy, Stith raised gobs of money—most of it contributed by well-heeled members of the local business community. On election day, he lost with 42 percent of the vote to Bell’s 58 percent.

The years since have been relatively quiet. At the end of Stith’s last term on Durham City Council, he decamped for the consulting industry. Still, his conservative roots go deep. In 2005, he co-founded the John Pope Civitas institute, a think tank backed by conservative heavyweights like Art Pope. Stith, who is African-American, also helped coordinate McCrory’s minority outreach efforts. So, his return to politics isn’t exactly surprising. Whether he has aspirations beyond playing McCrory’s lead traffic cop remains to be seen.