RALEIGH, N.C. — Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot said he is the clear, conservative choice for Republicans in the governor's race.
Vinroot pulled out his third primary
run for governor
Tuesday night. However, his margin of victory was not as high as political experts had predicted. He will be involved in a runoff election with former state Sen. Patrick Ballantine on Aug. 17.
"I'm pleased to win. Obviously, I would love to have 40 percent and be 50,000 votes ahead of everybody and make it unanimous. I would have much preferred to have no opposition whatsoever, but that was never realistic," Vinroot said.
Still, some of his supporters cannot hide their concern over Ballantine's surprising surge.
"Everybody here has been on his track for three times now, and are worried." Vinroot supporter Anne Snyder said.
The day after the primary, Vinroot had some criticism directed toward Ballantine.
"Is Patrick really going to be able to challenge Gov. Easley for spending too much, having been a part of a Senate that, in fact, endorsed even more spending?" he said. "He has one of the poorest attendance records in the state Senate."
Vinroot said the 24-year age difference between he and Ballantine is only a superficial distraction.
"It's going to be about ideas and values and who represents the real conservative choice," he said.
The three-time candidate now hopes to win the endorsement of other GOP contenders.