Election news from the Carolinas

Sewell cancels fundraiser for Perdue

N.C. Board of Transportation member Louis Sewell Jr. on Tuesday canceled a fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, hours after Perdue equivocated about whether she would attend.

“I think it is in the best interest of my family and everybody else involved to cancel the event,” Sewell said in a statement released by an attorney.

Sewell is the subject of a State Ethics Commission probe after The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported Sunday that he had steered roughly $375,000 of public money to road projects in Jacksonville adjacent to properties that he or his son co-owned at the time. Sewell has said he only sought to serve the public's interest.

Sewell is a fundraiser for Perdue. Perdue said Tuesday she supports the ethics investigation, but she was unclear about whether she would attend the fundraiser that was scheduled for Thursday night.

State law requires transportation board members to refrain from seeking money for projects that might directly benefit them.

Perdue's opponent in the governor's race, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, continued to press the issue Tuesday.

“Even sadly today there are newspaper articles about DOT board members who are putting roads through property they own, and no one knew about it,” said McCrory, a Republican. “Yet those same people are giving fundraisers for gubernatorial candidates. That's the type of mistrust and inefficiency we can no longer afford in North Carolina.”

Jim Morrill and Dan Kane

McCrory, Perdue present economic ideas

One thing North Carolina's two main gubernatorial candidates agree on: Economic development will be a top priority of the next governor.

Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Bev Perdue spoke to more than 230 people at the N.C. Economic Developers Association conference at the Concord Convention Center.

McCrory outlined a 10-point plan for development, including new and traditional energy initiatives, a 50-year transportation plan and stopping what he called the “ridiculous internal competition” between regions. He said one of his top priorities will be replacing the Yadkin River bridge on Interstate85.

Perdue, the current lieutenant governor, said she would push for development in all 100 counties. She touted her role in keeping the state's military bases open and said North Carolina should be on the forefront of developing a “green” economy with wind and solar power.

Jim Morrill

Perdue to skip debate with McCrory and Munger

Perdue will skip a debate on UNC-TV tonight.

The public television channel had invited Perdue, McCrory and Libertarian Mike Munger.

Perdue and McCrory have debated four times and will meet for one sponsored by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg League of Women Voters on Oct.15. Tonight's debate will be broadcast live on UNC-TV at 8.

(Raleigh) News and Observer