N.C. governor candidates discuss issues in final debate

by: Erica Bryant Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The two men vying to be the next governor of North Carolina tackled big issues Wednesday in the final debate before Election Day.

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton were not heated as they went deeper into the issues. They discussed education, immigration and unemployment.

“NC needs to get into the energy business,” McCrory said. “We’ve stayed on the sideline for far too long regarding natural gas exploration.”

“I have a specific plan for long-term unemployed,” Dalton said. “There’s a $2,000 tax credit for businesses that hire those people.”

At stake is the governor’s mansion, which has been held by Democrats for the past 20 years.

Most polls show Republican McCrory with a double-digit lead. The debate was Dalton’s last attempt at a game change.

“By his own admission, fracking can take years,” Dalton said. “We need jobs now.”

“Right now, what businesses are doing is moving to S.C., Georgia and Tennessee under the regulations of Dalton since he has been in office,” McCrory said.

Both agreed they would not change state labor laws or aggressively pursue immigration reform, but McCrory came out strong against the Affordable Care Act.

“I think states should come up with their own plan,” he said.

Dalton said it needs amending to help small business, but he supports it.

“It will be good for the health of our citizens and the health of our economy,” he said.

The latest poll from Rasmussen has McCrory getting 53 percent of likely voters compared to 42 percent for Dalton.