State News

Already talking debates, Perdue, McCrory look to November

Posted May 7, 2008

— Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory both ran what they called positive campaigns during their primary races for governor.

But after McCrory and Perdue won their parties' primaries Tuesday, it's unclear whether they'll stick to their upbeat messages over the six months as they head toward the general election.

"You know, that's a good question," Perdue said Tuesday night after beating State Treasurer Richard Moore in the Democratic primary. "But tonight, I'm thinking about this victory. I do know that we're going to stay focused on the issues that matter to the people of North Carolina - those middle-class folks out there who are working hard."

McCrory, who won a five-man race for the GOP nomination, said his message - one of changing the culture of state government - also would remain the same.

"We need to debate the culture of the old status quo - the old politics of North Carolina," said McCrory, a seven-term mayor of the state's largest city.

The general election campaign will begin immediately. McCrory wasted no time in calling for debates with Perdue, who sounded willing in an interview to participate in at least two.

A longtime lawmaker and the state's lieutenant governor for the past seven years, Perdue won 56 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. Moore was second with 40 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results.

In the Republican primary, McCrory earned 46 percent of the vote, well above the more than 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff with state Sen. Fred Smith of Johnston County, who finished second with 37 percent.

The Republican Party held a news conference Wednesday on the old Capitol grounds, with Smith and fellow candidate Robert Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice, appearing at McCrory's side to announce a unified GOP front for the general election.

Gov. Mike Easley, who is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term, appeared with Perdue at state Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday to announce his support for her.

"If I had to say there was one thing that separates these candidates apart from anybody else running, it is education for the people of North Carolina," Easley said. "Education is our way out of the woods. Education is our way into the global economy."

Moore didn't attend the event, but Democratic Party leaders insisted the party would come together before the fall campaign.

The GOP last won a governor's election in 1988, but McCrory bragged Tuesday he hasn't lost an election since running for student body president at Catawba College. "Now we've got to win the big one," he said.

Thad Beyle, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said McCrory is coming out of a longtime Republican stronghold in Charlotte, also the home to the last GOP governor, Jim Martin.

McCrory may have trouble in what may become a Democratic year. But he may try to link Perdue to Easley, whose has suffered from a run of bad publicity in recent months as the failing of the state's mental health reform were exposed and allegations made that his administration destroyed public records.

"Wrapping Easley's foibles around her neck could be a problem," Beyle said.

Rob Christensen, a political columnist with The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, predicted a competitive race that would feature both regional and gender issues. McCrory would have to overcome the so-called "Charlotte curse" that has doomed statewide campaigns of several Queen City politicians, while Perdue is trying to become North Carolina's first woman governor.

"A lot of women who might be independent and could go either way will look closely at Beverly Perdue," Christensen said.

Moore and Perdue ran a hard-fought campaign for the Democratic nomination. It was a race at least three years in the making, and one that cost the pair of state government veterans more than $16 million. Perdue stopped running negative ads against Moore in the final month of the campaign in favor of more positive ads, including one featuring television icon Andy Griffith.

McCrory entered the race in mid-January - late in the game compared to Smith and two other candidates who had been on the campaign trail for close to a year.

"It's kind of overwhelming," McCrory said. "We started this 13 weeks ago."


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  • TechRescue May 7, 2008

    Dang - almost forgot....

    NC has some of the lowest insurance rates in the country. So, why would Tony Rand (another fine un-corruptable Democrat) be proposing that we remove control from the Department of Insurance and allow the companies to charge whatever they want? Hmmm.... When all else fails, follow the money - err, I mean contributions.

  • doodad May 7, 2008

    You tell them Tech!!!

  • TechRescue May 7, 2008

    Let's not forget the cronyism in the DOT, raiding the highway fund , promoting the lottery as additional revenue, then using it for replacement funding and arguing it's not revenue at all. Lets see... Lottery commission members in jail, lobbyists writing the bills for the NC legislature, Perdue's little "liquor leak", Easley's helicopter trip to Southport while urging residents to stay home and save gas...

    NC's corruption would make a good joke if the voters weren't already a collective pack of idiots.

  • TechRescue May 7, 2008

    Republicans have made a mess out of things in NC?

    Jim Black, Frank Ballance, Mary McAlister, Thomas Wright, Mike Nifong, Mike Easley, Charles Meeker, Meg Scott Phipps.....

    Those names ring a bell? Does the party that ALL OF THEM ARE IN ring a bell?

    Every time I see a bumper sticker that says "Stop Corruption - Vote Democratic", I laugh - that is, until I realize how ignorant some people are.

  • Tidbit May 7, 2008

    LOL I see things like that more and more and wonder if legislation shouldn't be passed on making it manditory to take a test to even see if you know what's going on in your own city/ county/ state before you can vote (pure sarcasm LOL don't mean it)

  • doodad May 7, 2008

    Republicans have made a mess out of things in NC? How do you explain that when Democrats are in power in Raleigh? Jman, you are confused. Vote for whomever you choose.

  • Tidbit May 7, 2008

    OH YEAH - And Jman? Democrats have controled NC for so long - clearly you haven't been paying attention. NC is in such a mess, the budget is a mess, the taxes are a mess, they are raiding one fund to fund another fund and raising taxes to go back and cover the fund they are raiding...

    And whose doing all this? And making a mess of the education system? DEMOCRATS.

    Jeez.. some people hear a title and they get their neck in a ruffle without even knowing what is happening in their own state.

  • Tidbit May 7, 2008

    jman - isn't that awefully biggoted? Who cares what their title is.. Not all republicans are alike and not all democrats are alike. If you think they are... then, well... I'm sorry you can't be intellegent enough to see past a title to get to the cold facts of what is important.

  • Tidbit May 7, 2008

    "If I had to say there was one thing that separates these candidates apart from anybody else running, it is education for the people of North Carolina," Easley said. "Education is our way out of the woods. Education is our way into the global economy."

    If his example is anything at all to what Perdue would do to Education... Anyone worth a flip would know NOT to vote for her if we want a POSTIVE change to the education system

  • iwideopen May 7, 2008

    Check out the interactive map to see what counties supported McCroy. Our state government needs a major overhaul. Please support Pat McCroy for governor.
    May 7, 2008 12:11 p.m.
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    Pat McCory is a Republican. Republicans have made a mess out of just about everything they have touched. I would not vote for Pat McCory under any circumstances.