RALEIGH, N.C. — The Republican gubernatorial runoff election is scheduled for Aug. 17. But Patrick Ballantine is declaring victory in the primary.
At a news conference Thursday, Ballantine accused Richard Vinroot -- his competitor in the runoff and second-place finisher in the primary -- of heavy-handed negative campaigning. Ballantine said "I'm not going to that level," vowing to keep his campaign clean and positive.
Vinroot was scheduled to respond at a news conference later Thursday. The former Charlotte mayor already has started challenging Ballantine for his votes in the state Senate, including the final budget bill in 1998.
Ballantine said he would have voted the same way at that time because it raised teacher salaries and put hundreds of millions of dollars in the state's reserve fund.