The race to replace Gov. Bev Perdue on the Democratic ticket is getting closer.
A new poll suggests only a few percentage points now separate Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and former Congressman Bob Etheridge. With voters going to the polls Tuesday, both Dalton and Etheridge are saying they can win the race without a runoff.
Etheridge has closed to within 5 points in a recent poll and Monday said he believes he can avoid a runoff and win outright.
“We're going to win,” he said. “I really believe that because we're going up in the polls, if you believe polls. And according to the polls, they're coming back. We're moving forward. I think that's where you want to be on Election Day.”
Eyewitness News heard the same kind of campaign confidence from Dalton during a one-on-one interview Monday, in which he also admitted how much is riding on Tuesday.
“I think it will be very important. If we can win it on the first ballot, then we can focus immediately on the general election,” he said.
But whoever wins on the Democratic side will face a big hurdle. Both the Dalton and Etheridge campaigns have spent nearly all the money they've raised so far on TV ads aimed at each other. That means their bank accounts will be all but empty by Tuesday night, while Pat McCrory, the presumptive Republican nominee, has spent hardly any of the millions he's raised so far.
Political expert Michael Bitzer said whichever Democrat emerges will have a tough road ahead.
“He's got to be able to rally his base and he's got to be able to fundraise in order to get ready for August - September with Pat McCrory sitting on well over $3 million,” Bitzer said.