RALEIGH -- With a lopsided victory Tuesday night in the primary election, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is looking to become the state's first Republican governor since Jim Martin two decades ago.
"I just received a call from Gov. Mitt Romney, another victor in North Carolina, and we have committed to work together to make North Carolina a red state in 2012," McCrory said following his victory.
While his nomination was never in doubt, his opponent in November, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, had to win a hard battle with former Rep. Bob Etheridge on the Democratic side. Though McCrory has had the advantage of focusing on the general election for months, Dalton says the race is on.
"This is Walter Dalton's race. I hope people will look at my record and my vision for North Carolina," Dalton said after winning the nomination.
Both candidates agree that education can be the road to get there.
"I have a passion for education, a passion to help our teachers, a passion to have when kids graduate from high school. We will not have graduates who have to go back to our community colleges to have remedial classes. I want them to get it right the first time in our high schools," McCrory said.
"You do that by investing in our universities, creating research, that results in new inventions, and cutting-edge research is what drives a new economy," said Dalton.
Dalton and his passion for improving education is what he says will also boost the state's economy.
"I have tried to get our businesses to engage in the educational process. I have said that education really is market driven. If you think about it, we are producing students to fill the needs of the workforce," he said.
McCrory wants to focus on creating those jobs and getting the people who are out of work back in business.
"We will be a state in which we make things instead of just buy things,” he said. “We will reward people who make things and grow things and build things and innovate things, the important part of our economy."
McCrory ran for governor and lost to Bev Perdue in 2008, the same year Dalton was elected lieutenant governor.
Election Day is Nov. 6.