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Dalton, McCrory clash in final debate

Posted October 24, 2012 8:38 p.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2012 7:34 a.m. EDT

— Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, a Democrat, and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican, met for their final debate Wednesday night, sparring on a wide range of issues including taxes, education and ethics.

This was the third of three televised debates this fall. WRAL News hosted the event in cooperation with Wesleyan College and the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce.

And while the two men have worked hard to draw differences between one another, they found some common ground too during the final meeting before Election Day.

Asked what kind of expansion to abortion restrictions he might sign into law, McCrory simply answered "none."

That's a position that his Democratic rival said he shared. 

Both men shared a moment of mutual respect, saying that they admired each other's public service. 

Despite the moments of agreement, they separated themselves on a number of issues.

For example, McCrory pushed his idea of creating a separate high school track for children who don't want to go to college.

Dalton disagreed, saying the emphasis should be placed on high schools that allow students to get some exposure to community college classes.

"His (McCrory's) tracking system defines a 15-year-old before that 15-year-old has defined himself," Dalton said. 

The two men also traded barbs over ethics and job performance.

McCrory pointed out that Dalton did not attend more than half the meetings as a member of the state community college board. He has that post by virtue of being lieutenant governor.

Dalton replied that he had a replacement go in his stead. That replacement is allowed by law since the lieutenant governor has other duties.

"That's a bogus hit as far as I'm concerned," Dalton said.

Dalton, in turn, accused McCrory of knowingly voting to condemn land while he was a member of City Council, knowing it would help his employer, Duke Energy.

McCrory brushed aside the criticism during the debate. Afterward, he pointed out that Dalton was holding a fundraiser with the CEO of Duke. 

"They didn't do anything wrong and neither did ... I," McCrory said.