Raleigh, N.C. — The much anticipated battle between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper is now set for November.
Both men easily captured their parties' gubernatorial nominations on Tuesday night.
With 88 percent of precincts reporting, McCrory had 82 percent of the vote, compared with 10 percent for former state lawmaker Robert Brawley and 8 percent for Randleman businessman Charles Moss, according to unofficial results.
On the Democratic side, Cooper led Durham lawyer Ken Spaulding by a 70-30 percent margin, according to unofficial results.
McCrory has touted economic improvement during his three years in office as the "Carolina Comeback" and has said he should get another term to continue those efforts.
"We focused on rebuilding North Carolina's economy and lifting us out of one of the worst recessions in our state's history," he said on a video posted on Facebook. "We reformed our 60-year-old tax code and updated it for the modern world to unleash the innovative spirit of our entrepreneurs, the world-class work ethic of our farmers and the gritty perseverance of our manufacturing workers."
He cited the passage Tuesday of the $2 billion Connect NC bond referendum as evidence that people across the state can work together toward a common goal.
"We need a governor who will continue this kind of visionary, forward-thinking leadership, focus on solving our state's problems and not take us back," he said in the video. "We can't go back to the days of record-high unemployment. We can't go back to the days of higher taxes and bigger government."
Cooper has questioned McCrory's priorities, saying tax cuts the governor has backed have cut into money the candidate says could boost public schools.
"There will be nothing less at stake than the heart and soul of North Carolina this November," Cooper said at a victory party at state Democratic Party headquarters.
He quickly tried to link McCrory to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who won in North Carolina on Tuesday.
"Are we really ready for a Trump/McCrory ticket?" Cooper asked, eliciting a chorus of boos. "Their campaigns have a lot in common. They're trying to divide people and turn us against each other.
"Our state is going to be looking for positive leadership and a North Carolina that works for everyone and not the select few," he said. "North Carolina needs a new set of priorities, helping everyone in this improving economy."