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The Virginian-Pilot - GOP Candidate for N.C. Governor Vows to Target Corruption

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Location: Edenton, NC

The Virginian-Pilot - GOP Candidate for N.C. Governor Vows to Target Corruption

Connie Sage

Gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory made his first campaign swing through northeastern North Carolina on Friday in his bid to be elected the state's first Republican governor in 20 years.

McCrory, whose tour included a rally the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton, is convinced that voters will cross party lines to elect him in their quest for a leader "who's a visionary, has energy, is ethical and is a problem solver."

In a 20-minute speech in a county where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1, McCrory denounced the state's current Democratic administration as one that is run by a "power elite."

"North Carolina used to be known for ethical government," he said. "It's not true anymore; it's known as a corrupt government" that works behind closed doors.

"Ten people have gone to jail, and those are the ones who've been caught," McCrory said to the applause of nearly 40 supporters.

Vote 2008, a Public Broadcasting Service online site, said that "at least eight state officials or lobbyists have been convicted or pleaded guilty to crimes since 2006" in North Carolina.

McCrory said the near-purchase of a $9 million jet was the latest example of unethical conduct in state government. The proposed purchase was canceled last week after the news media learned of it.

The state Department of Commerce wanted the eight-passenger Cessna Citation to haul prospective industrial recruits to sites in North Carolina, according to The Associated Press.

McCrory, t he seven-term mayor of Charlotte, said he was elected in a city with more registered Democrats because of non partisan support and his ability to lead.

Pledging "strong, open, ethical government," McCrory said he would "fight for the whole state " if elected.

"I've never been to the governor's mansion. I've never been invited," he said. "My goal is to get outside the beltway."

Supporters in Edenton were delighted when McCrory said he'd rather have the support of Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor, referring to the character played by actor Andy Griffith in "The Andy Griffith Show."

The sheriff in the long-running television show, whose imaginary town is set in North Carolina, would say, "Let's fix the state's criminal justice system," McCrory said.

"It's not a big-city problem - it's a small-town problem in North Carolina."

Griffith, a Dare County resident, has endorsed McCrory's opponent, Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, for governor.

Also on McCrory's schedule were visits to Washington, Williamston, Camden and Elizabeth City.

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