Mitt Romney got elected Governor as a Republican in heavily Democratic Massachusetts by running as a moderate.
Then he decided to run for President. The Republican electorate is pretty conservative, especially in key primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
So he decided to make himself into a conservative. Based on the results in those two states it didn't work. The voters didn't buy it.
Pat McCrory has been reelected as Mayor without strong Democratic opposition for years. He's done it by both running and governing as a moderate, making him virtually unbeatable.
If he decides to run for Governor he has a choice. He can run as who he is, a moderate Republican, and see if that's good enough to make it through a primary dominated by conservative voters.
Or he can go the Romney way and try to turn himself into a conservative.
I would guess that he would have about as much success repositioning himself as Romney did. Not much. So his best strategy is probably to be himself and convince primary voters they should choose him as their best shot for ending 16 years of Democratic dominance in the Governor's Mansion.