The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor on Thursday split over oil drilling off the N.C. coast.
Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee, criticized his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, for opposing offshore drilling to help boost the domestic oil supply.
“North Carolina has to be part of the energy solution,” McCrory told the crowd of about 150 N.C. Farm Bureau members at the organization's headquarters in Raleigh. The two candidates spoke separately and did not debate. Perdue, who spoke first, didn't talk about offshore drilling but has said she opposes it along North Carolina's coast because oil companies already have exploration rights on millions of acres elsewhere.
“Oil companies need to start drilling there first and they can start today,” Perdue spokesman Tim Crowley said later.
Both candidates pledged to help grow the state's biotechnology industries. McCrory said the research going on presents “incredible opportunities” and is a natural fit because any manufacturing is so close to the state's farms and crops that could supply them. Perdue said the biotech industries are generating new jobs and can create the next generation of biofuels.