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McCrory urges NC to vote down 'power elite' at campaign kick-off

Posted January 31, 2012 6:06 p.m. EST
Updated February 1, 2012 12:06 a.m. EST

— Republican candidate Pat McCrory formally announced his entry Tuesday into the 2012 North Carolina gubernatorial campaign with a plea to voters to work against the "good old boys and girls network" that has been in power for nearly two decades.

At a campaign kick-off event in Jamestown, where McCrory spent much of his childhood, he charged that the state's power elite has kept the "same political machine in office that has caused so much harm to our government and our economy."

He and his wife, Ann, moved back to Jamestown, outside Greensboro in Guilford County, after McCrory's seventh term as Charlotte mayor. 

"I am proud to return back home to officially announce that I will run for governor," McCrory said. "We're going to fix this broken government and we're going to fix this broken economy here in North Carolina."

Taking the stage before a crowd of supporters to The Who's "We Won't Get Fooled Again," McCrory repeated that sentiment over and over Tuesday about the Democratic leadership in the Executive Mansion since 1993.

"The bosses that brought us the current governor and the governor before that, they are looking out right now for another leader from their ranks," he said. "They want to hold on to their power and the status quo of failed leadership... We won't get fooled again."

He reiterated his legislative priorities, which he laid out Monday in an interview with WRAL News, which include paying teachers for performance, opening up North Carolina for more energy exploration and changing the system of incentives the state uses to attract businesses.

With a humorous anecdote about a recent trip to the Division of Motor Vehicles, McCrory said government inefficiency and waste has contributed to the lagging state economy.

"We are going to have to do more with less," he said. "We're all doing more with less – in our family households, in our small businesses – and we're going to have to demand the same thing from government." 

McCrory said Monday that the departure of Perdue from the 2012 gubernatorial campaign won't alter his message of overhauling North Carolina state government.

"Our schedule has not changed. Our message won't change and our strategy won't change," McCrory said. "This scenario is one we saw potentially happening, so it didn't come as a huge surprise because we knew she's been in trouble for various reasons, and part of it was me being a strong candidate."

Though McCrory, who narrowly lost to Perdue in the 2008 general election, is the presumptive nominee for the Republican party, he is expected to face two challengers in the May primary – Leigh Thomas Brown and Douglas Schell.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison of Orange County have announced that they'll run in the Democratic primary, and a half dozen others are considering throwing their names in the race before the filing period begins Feb. 13.