RALEIGH Outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue spent Friday night in the Executive Mansion, and finished moving out Saturday morning.
She entered the chambers for the swearing-in of new Gov. Pat McCrory as a National Guard band played “The Old North State.”
She then turned the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina – the symbol of state power – over to McCrory. He embraced her, to the applause of the crowd.
Although they are old political rivals, McCrory praised Perdue for her public service and thanked her for her “graciousness” during the transition.
Apparently Perdue’s last actions as governor were on Friday when she visited a school in Onslow County. One of her last visitors Friday was former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt.
There were no last-minute pardons, according to Britt Cobb, her chief of staff.
McCrory enters office in a strong position -- riding high in the public opinion polls, with a political mandate after a landslide victory in November, and with a Republican-controlled legislature.
“It feels very good,” said Art Pope, the Raleigh businssman and GOP financier, who will work as McCrory budget director for free. “I think the people will be well served.’’
Asked how it feels to have a Republican governor, GOP Senate leader Phil Berger said, “ I don’t know that I feel any different that I did 20 minutes ago. But I’m optimistic and encouraged. I think we have an opportunity to move the state forward….’’
The way McCrory took office was a bit unusual – with the swearing-in separated from the inaugural festivities. But the Junior League, which runs the inaugural ball, could not rent the Raleigh Convention Center this weekend because of a boat show. And McCrory did not want to wait, because the legislature is convening on Wednesday.
The main inaugural ball will be held Friday and governor’s inaugural address and parade will be held Saturday.
McCrory kept the swearing-in a quiet affair, because he did not want to upstage the later inaugural festivities.
The new governor’s first speech was Saturday night, where he appeared at a “A Salute to North Carolina Veterans” at the Hilton Midtown.
“It’s a surreal moment in my life and my wife’s life,” McCrory said.
The McCrorys planned to spend their first night in the Executive Mansion. They had been staying in an apartment in the North Hills area since the election, and it was just a matter of moving some clothes to the mansion.
He said his first priority, after consulting with his new Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan was to make sure there was an emergency operations plan in place in case it was needed right away. He said he took that step on the advice of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.