RALEIGH, N.C. — Patrick Ballantine
is a corporate attorney who got tired of, what he calls, "red tape" that was out of his hands. So, the youngest of the six Republican candidates running for governor decided to toss his hat in the ring.
"I just felt all the frustration that my clients felt, and I said: 'You know, I think I can get in there and make a difference,'" he said. "' can change things.'"
First appointed to the state Senate in 1994, Ballantine, 39, later was elected to the seat. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Senate Republican Leader in 1998.
This spring, Ballantine resigned from the Senate to campaign full time. He said his focus now is the same as it was then -- decreasing taxes and increasing jobs.
"This really is about the future of our state," he said. "Do we want to continue the downslide? Do we want to continue to lose jobs and be a high tax state or do we want to grow?"
Ballantine was the first candidate to hit the airwaves months ago. He said it has helped increase his name recognition.
"I had to go and introduce myself to the rest of the state and let them know who I am and what my message is," he said.
Critics said the ad, which features Ballantine's daughter, sheds more light on his youth than his message. Ballantine's strategy is to make them one and the same.
"It's critical right now in North Carolina that we have a new conservative leadership," he said. "I believe I represent that new generation of conservative leadership," he said.
In addition to restoring the economy, Ballantine said his priorities, if he is elected, will be education, health care and building better roads.