Less than 12 hours after he became the Democratic nominee for governor, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton found himself fending off claims he would amount to "Bev Perdue 2," a reference to Gov. Bev Perdue who decided not to seek re-election.
"People want a Governor with fresh new ideas, not more of the same tax and spend policies from the Democrats," state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said today.
The web ad uses one of Dalton's own television commercials in which various people repeat his name to answer questions like, "Who has supported billions of dollars in tax increases, just like Bev Perdue."
It is a fair point that Dalton has supported the same three-quarters of one cent sales tax Perdue has called for. But in an interview today, Dalton made the case that he was his own man, not a continuation of the Perdue administration.
The Republican nominee is Pat McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor who ran against Perdue in 2008. As the Republican ad suggests, McCrory has been (and likely will continue) trying to box Dalton into a corner as a continuation of the Perdue administration.
So on Wednesday, Dalton talked about how he was his own person, starting with the fact that he ran independently of Perdue in 2008.
"I am Walter Dalton, I'm not Beverly Perdue. We were elected separately," Dalton said. "People can make comparisons one way or the other. I hope they will look at my record."
Dalton opposed the amendment that will add a definition of marriage to our state constitution. The measure will keep the General Assembly from creating civil unions and could prohibit both public and private employers from offering domestic partner benefits.
"The people have spoken," Dalton said. "I think we move on to focusing on education and economic development, which is where I think our focus ought to have been all along anyway."
Dalton said he'll have no reservations about campaigning with President Obama when he comes to the state this year. We also talked about where he differed with Perdue in handling the General Assembly and where he and Republicans might find common ground on education spending.
For my whole 12-minute conversation with Dalton, click below.