Republican Pat McCrory will be the next governor of North Carolina. The former Charlotte Mayor defeated Democrat Walter Dalton on Tuesday by receiving more than 54-percent of the vote. McCrory becomes the first GOP gubernatorial candidate to win in 27 years, and just the third republican to take the governor's mansion since 1901.
Jeff Tiberii: It was a party four years in the making. Pat McCrory lost the closest gubernatorial race in the country in 2008 to democrat Bev Perdue but on Tuesday he found some redemption. However, if you're a fan of suspense, this race wasn't for you. McCrory led his opponent Walter Dalton in the polls since May and his victory speech amounted to more of a formality than a decisive, memorable moment. The long-time leader of Charlotte thanked his wife, family and campaign staff.
Pat McCrory: But most of all thank you to the people of North Carolina, from the East to the Piedmont to the West. I've enjoyed building a relationship with you and the relationship continues, for another at least four years.
McCrory also had a message for his opponent, Democrat Walter Dalton, the current Lt. Governor.
McCrory: I know exactly what he's going through, and my heart is with him and his family because I know he worked very, very hard and I thank him for his service to our state.
Dalton didn't get into this gubernatorial race until relatively late. Governor Perdue announced in January that she would not seek a second term, giving Dalton and the Democrats a limited window to raise money and grow name recognition. Dalton is a former six-term state senator and was elected Lt. Gov in 2008. He delivered a concession speech in Raleigh that offered moments of passion. He concluded by reminding his supporters of a quote from Martin Luther King
Walter Dalton: He said our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. TO you in this room education matters, to you in this room jobs matter, to you in this room equality and justice matter and to you in this room opportunity matters.
Dalton clashed with McCrory in the five-month-long contest over taxes, education, how to grow the economy and the next steps in energy exploration. During the campaign McCrory pledged to make North Carolina more business friendly, lower corporate and personal income tax rates and overhaul middle and high schools while pumping more money into early childhood education. McCrory didn't talk much policy last night, but did reiterate he felt his campaign was positive, lacking any attack ads. The Republican said that brought the voters together and showed he can lead without negativity.
McCrory: Whether you're running for school board, county commission, sheriff, state legislature or governor - you can win the right way. And we've run the right way and thank you for supporting that effort; republicans, democrats and independents alike.
The 56-year-old moved to Guilford County when he was a young boy and graduated from Ragsdale High School and later Catawba College. He spent 28 years at Duke Energy and was a seven-term mayor of the state's largest city. He becomes the first Republican governor since Jim Martin, who left office nearly 20 years ago. Speaking before two projection screens, eight flags and several hundred supporters, McCrory also said he wished his late parents could have been on hand. Instead he challenged the crowd moving forward, by sharing a lesson from mom and dad.
McCrory: They instilled the following into every person they met. And that is, whatever you do, please fulfill your potential. He said that do his kids, to students at North Carolina A&T and to his peers in engineering.
McCrory spoke for less than 10 minutes before shaking hands and offering hugs to many of his supporters, friends and former classmates on hand. Today McCrory will hold a morning press conference and start the transition process in Raleigh Wednesday afternoon.