Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory will face Rutherford County's Walter Dalton in North Carolina's gubernatorial race this November, after each won primary races Tuesday.
McCrory easily swept to victory over four lesser-known and under-funded opponents in the Republican race, and Dalton, the state's lieutenant governor, won the Democratic primary.
The Associated Press declared McCrory the winner in his Republican primary at 8:15 p.m. And Dalton was declared the winner by AP at 10 p.m.
In a victory speech Tuesday night in Charlotte, McCrory said he will "fix North Carolina." He vowed to improve the state's business climate and education system.
"Let's rebuild this state," McCrory said. "And we will win in November."
And in an apparent reference to Dalton, McCrory said he wants to change "the good old boy system" in Raleigh. Dalton has been an elected state official for more than a decade.
In his victory speech, Dalton said McCrory is part of a Republican party apparatus that has damaged North Carolina's economy and hurt the state's education system. He called upon independent voters and even Republicans to join his campaign.
Perdue is not running for re-election, and that opened the door for six Democrats to file.
With returns from about 70 percent of the state's precincts, Dalton had 45 percent of the vote. Bobby Etheridge was second with 38 percent. Bill Faison, expected to run a strong third, was narrowly ahead of Gardenia Henley, 5.5 to 5.2 percent. Trailing were Gary Dunn (2.9 percent) and Bruce Blackmon (2.4 percent).
The attention was focused mostly on Dalton, the state's lieutenant governor and a Rutherfordton native; and former U.S. Rep. Etheridge of Harnett County. Also in the race were Faison, a state legislator from Raleigh; retired auditor Gardenia Henley of Winston-Salem; 90-year-old physician Bruce Blackmon of Buies Creek; and Matthews' Gary Dunn, who campaigned to legalize marijuana.
Several polls had suggested that Etheridge, 70, who also was state superintendent of schools from 1989 to 1996, had the lead in the race. But Dalton, a state senator before winning election as lieutenant governor in 2008, was a strong challenger.
The two battled about economic issues. Dalton said Etheridge, while in Congress, supported a trade bill that was written by the Bush administration. Dalton said that bill helped send jobs overseas.
Etheridge countered that the bill actually increased trade in the United States.
Faison, meanwhile, sniped at both the leaders. He said Dalton did little to help cut a 17 percent unemployment rate in his native Rutherford County, and he argued that Etheridge couldn't get along with Democrats while he was state superintendent.