Local News

N.C. governor's race enters home stretch as N.C. primary day approaches

Posted May 4, 2008 7:25 p.m. EDT
Updated May 5, 2008 9:39 a.m. EDT

— With Tuesday's state primary election approaching, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue headed east Sunday as she tries to wrap up the Democratic Party's nomination for governor.

Perdue and her rival for the nomination, State Treasurer Richard Moore, campaigned at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Durham.

"Durham is a place where grassroots politics are alive and well. There are a lot of very concerned folks here tonight,” Moore said.

"This is a group of tremendous community, faith-based and civil leaders.  So it is obviously a good place to end up on a Sunday because these folks are about the future, as I am,’ Perdue said.

Durham CAN, a grass-roots organization made up of congregations, associations and neighborhood groups, hosted the event. One of Durham CAN's biggest issues is the lack of decent wages in Durham.

"We all know that the end game is not the minimum wage. We have got to build those jobs, wrapped around 21st-century opportunities that do pay $30 or $40 an hour. That is how you create a new middle-class,” Perdue said.

"We were the first campaign to talk about free community college for two years. We were the first campaign to talk about senior property tax reform. We we were the first campaign to talk about raising the minimum wage again – real issues that matter to people," Moore said.

Perdue and Moore have spent nearly $16 million since 2005 to win the Democratic Party's nomination.

Perdue won an early key endorsement from the powerful N.C. Association of Educators and would become the state's first female governor. She has touted her 14-year history in the Legislature and seven more years as lieutenant governor, highlighting her efforts to raise teacher salaries and to protect the state's military installations during the 2005 round of base closings.

Moore counters with a resume that includes running two state agencies – the treasurer's office and the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, where he managed the state's response to Hurricanes Fran and Floyd. He has received national attention for his corporate accountability efforts on Wall Street, and the $78 billion pension fund he manages for state employees is rated among the healthiest in the country.

The top candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for governor were also out on the campaign trail this weekend. A recent poll showed State Sen. Fred Smith and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory essentially tied.

McCrory has focused on what he believes are shortcomings in the state's government, pointing out his own frustration with Gov. Mike Easley and lawmakers for failing to pass anti-gang legislation or spend more money on the courts.

Easley was barred by state law from seeking a third consecutive term.

Smith has chipped away at McCrory's record as mayor, accusing him of runaway government spending and failing to combat rising rates of crime in North Carolina's largest city. A developer, Smith built a following of social conservatives and activists during his 100-county barbecue tour and campaign concerts featuring country singer Lee Greenwood.