RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper hurtled toward a November showdown on Tuesday night, sweeping to big primary victories on a day North Carolinians flocked to the polls.
Also Tuesday night, North Carolinians overwhelmingly voted in favor of a $2 billion bond that will invest in the university system, and former Wake County legislator Deborah Ross won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Ross will face incumbent Richard Burr in November.
McCrory built a massive lead over C. Robert Brawley and Charles Kenneth Moss, with McCrory getting 82 percent of the vote.
That led to a triumphant appearance from McCrory, who looked ahead to his showdown with Cooper.
“We still have a lot to do,” McCrory said, making the case for re-election.
McCrory said, “We still have complex problems that will be hard to solve in the future.”
He said his administration had the state on the right path and North Carolina needed to stay on its course.
Among Democrats, Cooper led Ken Spaulding of Durham, 71 percent to 28 percent.
“I’m honored to receive the nomination of the Democratic Party tonight,” Cooper said. “For too long, we have seen Gov. McCrory hand out tax giveaways to the large corporations at the expense of public education and the middle class. But the damage done is only a hint of what’s in store under a Trump, McCrory Administration.
“We need a new set of priorities. A focus on helping incomes rise, putting more money back in the pockets of middle-class families, and helping small businesses start up and grow. With the help of our grassroots supporters, we will work to make sure our state works for everyone, not just the select few.”
But Republicans see the race much differently. And in a statement that foreshadowed the GOP strategy for the fall, North Carolina Republican Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said,”North Carolina Democrats chose to put forward the ultimate Raleigh insider to be the face of their party headed into the November elections.
“They say they want to ‘change’ Raleigh, but Attorney General Cooper’s nomination is just further proof that they intend to take our state back to the days of higher taxes, bigger government and more unemployment.”
Senator Burr rolled past Dr. Greg Brannon for the Republican nomination. On the Democratic side, former Wake County legislator Ross vaulted into the statewide discussion with a decisive victory.
Ross had tough words for Burr Tuesday night, saying, “So far our senior senator has been shirking his Constitutional responsibilities by refusing to even consider nominees to the Supreme Court. That upsets all of us. And we’re tired of these games in Washington.”
The Republicans are saying they will not consider a nominee from President Barack Obama to replace the deceased Antonin Scalia.
For Lieutenant Governor, Linda Coleman prevailed on the Democratic side and will face incumbent Dan Forest in the fall.
The bond had garnered nearly two-thirds of the votes on Tuesday. New UNC president Margaret Spellings praised how the bond would help the UNC system and would drive “this mighty engine that is the University of North Carolina.”
She said the bond would address a wide variety of issues in the state, including agricultural issues.
But the $2 billion Connect NC bond could impact the state for decades and is the first statewide bond in 16 years. About $980 million would go to the UNC system. Other money would go toward community colleges, farming, specialty parks and the National Guard.
Jim Rose of the Connect NC Committee said the bond “seeks to address the massive population growth that we’ve seen in North Carolina.”
The bond has the support of state leaders like Gov. Pat McCrory and educational leaders like Chancellor Randy Woodson at N.C. State University.
“The bond is critical to build on the infrastructure of the state. When you look at the state of North Carolina, in the last 15 years we’ve grown by two million people, since the last bond. It’s critical that the state invest in the infrastructure to keep higher education strong, our National Guard strong, parks and recreation centers strong,” Woodson said.