Politics & Government

McCrory, Perdue fire up

The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor traded sharp exchanges during a Tuesday night debate over school vouchers, oil drilling and attack ads.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican, met at WRAL-TV in the third of five debates.

It was televised across the state just as many voters are beginning to focus on the campaign.

The candidates were more aggressive than in any previous meeting and complained of being maligned in ads run by their opponent and independent groups.

Perdue said McCrory wants to drain public school funds to provide vouchers, which supply money for students to attend private schools. Poor families can't pay the difference between those stipends and private school tuition, she said.

“You find me a school where you can take a voucher and do it all,” Perdue said.

McCrory said he supports vouchers for students in failing schools.

Those are no different from state tuition grants given to college students who attend private universities in the state, which Perdue supports, he said.

The two tangled again over oil drilling off North Carolina's coast, with McCrory questioning Perdue's shift from opposing drilling over the summer to now pledging to study it. “The technology hasn't changed in three weeks,” McCrory said.