N.C. Governor Race Overshadowed

  • May 02, 2012
  • By Pamela Prah

The recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker might be drawing most of the attention these days, but voters in North Carolina next week also are choosing candidates for their governor's election in November, while weighing in on the issue of gay marriage at the same time.

In North Carolina, where the Democratic presidential convention will take place this summer, primaries on May 8 will determine who will vie to succeed Governor Beverly Perdue, who declined to seek a second term.

On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton has surged ahead of former U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge, leading by a 36 percent to 26 percent margin, according to a new survey released by Public Policy Polling. State Rep. Bill Faison won 5 percent. North Carolina Democrats are still reeling from the sexual harassment charges against the executive director of the state party, Jay Parmley, who has resigned.

On the Republican side, the presumptive Republican nominee is Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte who lost to Perdue in 2008. McCrory won a 66 percent favorable opinion among GOP voters in a poll late last month. All the other GOP candidates have less than 5 percent.

Several former and current GOP governors are fund-raising for McCrory, the latest being former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Others stumping for McCrory include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

North Carolina voters also will decide on a proposal from the legislature that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. The latest Public Policy Polling results show that 55 percent plan to vote yes next week while 41 percent are opposed.

But the gubernatorial race getting all the attention is in Wisconsin, where a historic recall election is underway of Republican Governor Walker, who took on public sector unions by pushing through legislation that reduced unions' bargaining power. Voters there May 8 will pick a Democratic candidate to challenge Walker in a June 5 recall election. The contenders are Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Senator Kathleen Vinehout.