Catherine Brand: Early voting ends tomorrow in North Carolina. Voters are electing a new governor - and they're also making selections for other statewide offices.
Isaac-Davy Aronson: Democrat Beth Wood says she's earned a second term as State Auditor, by turning the office into a fast, efficient, and tenacious watchdog.
Beth Wood: We have identified hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending in our state government, and we have gone further than the State Auditor's office has ever before gone in that I'm taking personally this information down to the General Assembly, appearing before legislative committees, and showing them what we've found.
As an example, Wood says her audits found that many state contracts were being paid out even when the contractors didn't complete the work for which they were hired. That led to a new law aimed at strengthening performance requirements and increasing oversight.
Wood's Republican opponent is Wake School Board member Debra Goldman. Numerous attempts to arrange an interview with Goldman were unsuccessful. Her web site says she led the fight to reform the Wake school system. She was part of a Republican majority elected to the board in 2009 that made controversial changes to the student assignment plan. Goldman's web site says as Auditor, she will "revolutionize the way State Government is assessed crack down on corruption" and "eliminate waste, fraud & abuse."
Wood, a CPA, says the choice is about qualifications.
Beth Wood: My opponent has never conducted an audit. She has an advertising degree. She has no clue what's going on in the state auditor's office, because there are a lot of regulatory-type audits that must be performed. So to come in and say, 'I'm gonna go fishing for all this corruption', if you do that at the expense of the required audits, then you're definitely going to run the risk of our AAA bond rating being affected.
Goldman has been embroiled in controversy since dozens of police reports involving her and her family were passed to the News & Observer. One shows she implicated fellow school board member Chris Malone in a 2010 burglary at her home. Malone says he and Goldman had an affair, a claim she denies. Many of the reports revolve around Goldman's estranged husband, whom she accuses of leaking the documents. Some of Goldman's fellow Republicans have distanced themselves from her. At a debate last week, gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory declined to support Goldman without more information and went on to praise Beth Wood.