Local Politics

Perdue tries to make inroads in Charlotte

Political observers say Beverly Perdue can't win the gubernatorial race unless she chips away at Pat McCrory's commanding lead in Charlotte.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue has been spending more time behind enemy lines recently, campaigning in Charlotte to to gain support in her gubernatorial race against Pat McCrory, the Queen City's seven-term Republican mayor.

Polls show McCrory holds a commanding lead in the Charlotte metro area – some have him more than 20 percentage points ahead – and some political observers have said that Perdue doesn't stand a chance of defeating McCrory in November if she can't chip away at his stranglehold in Charlotte in the next few weeks.

According to a WRAL News poll released Thursday, McCrory holds a 50 to 46 percent lead statewide. The poll of 700 likely voters statewide has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

"I think he's vulnerable in his own back yard," Perdue said. "This city doesn't belong to any mayor. It belongs to the people of North Carolina."

McCrory, who has been scheduling more campaign appearances in eastern North Carolina, a traditional Democratic stronghold, mocked the attention Perdue is giving to voters in his hometown.

"We welcome Lt. Gov. Perdue to Charlotte. We've seen her and Gov. (Mike) Easley about every four years right before election time," he said.

During campaign appearances, Perdue promised to change the perception that state government overlooks Charlotte. She also took aim at the mayor, claiming he chose to take police off city streets when he vetoed a city budget.

"When the City Council said yes to more cops, he said no," she told people at a Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday.

McCrory said his veto was about a 9 percent property tax increase, not about the police force.

"Using her logic, I must be against roads, police, fire, garbage pick-up, clean water and anything and everything in that bill," he said. "Most people know that's just ridiculous."

Perdue said she believes spending a few days each week campaigning in Charlotte will make a big difference by Election Day.

"We have a very good opportunity of taking Mecklenburg County," she said.