EDITORIAL: Our Endorsements At the State Level
This is the first in a series of candidate endorsement editorials. April 25: U.S. Senate and 6th District Congressional seat. April 27: N.C. Senate, District 22, and N.C. House, District 52. April 30: County Commissioner. May 2: Court of Appeals and Sales Tax.
The two Democratic candidates for governor have become familiar faces to Tar Heel TV watchers in recent weeks -- but largely for the wrong reason: They keep slugging it out in personal attacks that tend to obscure the many important issues in the campaign.
Both candidates have lengthy records of strong service at the state level, so either would bring valuable experience. Of the two, though, we wholeheartedly recommend State Treasurer Richard Moore. It would be hard to find a more attractive candidate. In a lengthy interview recently at The Pilot, he came across as intelligent, personable, awesomely informed on state issues at every level, and ready to lead North Carolina out of some of its current difficulties and into a more promising future.
The other candidate, Bev Perdue, has achieved a degree of visibility as lieutenant governor, though that has been largely a ceremonial position ever since a state government reorganization in 1989. The ambitious Perdue seems to have spent a good deal of her time for the past eight years running for governor.
Moore has excelled in two diametrically different jobs. As secretary of crime control and public safety in the Hunt administration, he ably supervised the recovery from two hurricanes. More recently as state treasurer, he kept the state's retirement reserves fully funded -- and then some -- at a time when those in many other states were on the skids. He seems eminently qualified to provide the kind of hands-on management that has too often been missing under the administration of Gov. Mike Easley.
Republican voters in the May 6 primary will have several good candidates to choose from. Of the GOP gubernatorial candidates who took part in a taped-for-TV debate here on April 9, three came across as especially strong.
N.C. Sen. Fred Smith of Johnson County, a businessman with a wealth of experience at the local government level, could do a creditable job in the governor's office. So could former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr. The latter most recently made the news for leading a strong (but unsuccessful) court challenge to the state's program of incentives to lure new industries, but also has shown leadership in public education, improved transportation and environmental stewardship.
Our recommendation, though, is Pat McCrory.
Having compiled a successful record as mayor of Charlotte, the competent and confident McCrory is trying hard to break the supposed "curse" that has prevented a number of other candidates from the Queen City from achieving election as governor. Given the general level of disenchantment with scandals and other bad news from Raleigh, maybe this is his year.
McCrory has taken strong, principled leadership positions on the state budget, law-enforcement and transportation issues. He has aimed especially spirited (and deserved) criticism at the N.C. Department of Transportation as being poorly organized, ineffectively managed and shot through with political influence. He seems the clear choice on the Republican side.
On the Democratic side, The Pilot recommends Walter H. Dalton, who is clearly the candidate with the most experience in state government and who best understands the appropriations process.
We express no preference among the four candidates for lieutenant governor on the Republican side.
Council of State
On the Democratic side, The Pilot endorses Beth A. Wood for auditor, Wayne Goodwin for commissioner of insurance, Mary Fant Donnan for commissioner of labor, June St. Clair Atkinson for superintendent of public instruction, and Janet Cowell for state treasurer.
On the Republican Council of State ballot, where only the position of superintendent of public instruction is contested, we recommend Moore County's own former N.C. Rep. Richard Morgan.
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