North Carolina’s two gubernatorial candidates Friday had different takes on Raleigh’s so-called “culture of corruption.”
Republican Pat McCrory praised GOP House Speaker Thom Tillis for seeking the resignation of a legislative ally who was indicted this week.
Meanwhile his opponent, Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, said the indictment of Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Kinston Republican, makes it harder for McCrory to criticize a Democratic “culture of corruption.”
“It’s harder for (McCrory) to say that with a straight face given what’s going on,” Dalton told reporters. “There are examples in both parties … that neither side should continue.”
The question came up after both candidates spoke to the North Carolina Trucking Association in Ballantyne.
Dalton was asked by a reporter about GOP efforts to brandish a “culture of corruption” label against Democrats, in light of recent incidents involving GOP legislative staffers and LaRoque.
Democrats have had a recent history of legal troubles. Scandals involving former House Speaker Jim Black, former Gov. Mike Easley and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards have made it easy for Republicans to tag Democrats with corruption.
LaRoque was indicted on federal charges of theft and money laundering involving his management of more than $7 million in federal funds.
Tillis, a Cornelius Republican, wasted little time in urging him to resign.
“I’m very pleased with Thom Tillis,” McCrory said. “That’s the type of leadership I will demand as governor.”
Dalton told the trucking group that he opposes making portions of Interstate 95 a toll road but later said he would leave the option open for the proposed Garden Parkway in Gaston County and Monroe Bypass in Union County.
McCrory said he would do a “total evaluation” of all road projects, including those, if elected.
Asked about the two controversial Charlotte-area road projects, Dalton said he would leave decisions about them to highway engineers.
Funding questions have dogged the proposed Gaston project. This week the federal government withdrew its “Record of Decision” in favor of the Monroe bypass.