WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- North Carolina is less than five months away from electing a new governor. The two major-party candidates vying for the job are working hard to grab your vote. Saturday morning, the two faced off in a debate for the first time.
"The choice is clear," Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton said. "We must move forward. I am the candidate who can do that."
"Let's lead for the future with vision, with strategy, with ideas," Republican nominee and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory said. "That's what I plan to do."
Dalton and McCrory debated for an hour Saturday in downtown Wilmington. The men answered questions from a media panel at the NC Bar Association's Annual Conference.
McCrory says Dalton will only further the policies put in place by outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.
"Beverly Perdue will not be the next governor of North Carolina," Dalton said. "This race is about my vision for North Carolina and Pat McCrory's vision for North Carolina."
Dalton says he would veto the state budget. He says McCrory is just like his friends in the GOP-led legislature.
"Regarding the legislature right now, which is a very fair question, let me tell you where I agree and where I disagree," McCrory said.
McCrory says while he agrees with some things, he disagrees with midnight sessions among other policies and wants more transparency; something reporters questioned both men about.
Dalton about travel records: "Travel schedule is public record, you're welcome to it."
McCrory about income taxes: "Frankly, I don't think that's your business. I'm not asking you for your income either."
The candidates were also asked about their priorities.
"The very first thing I would do is personnel, is policy and is line up the very best people to represent and lead the people of North Carolina," Dalton said.
"The first thing that I would do would probably be to sign bills in which the current governor overrode those bills, especially with regarding energy exploration," McCrory said.
Dalton feels his experience and fresh ideas are key.
"If you look at the policies that he is espousing, I really do think it will move North Carolina backwards or stagnate us and actually hurt our economy rather than moving forward," Dalton said after the debate.
McCrory believes an outsider must come in to fix our state's broken government.
"I really didn't see much separation between Gov. Perdue's policies and Walter Dalton's policies, so I think the voters are going to have a clear choice," McCrory said following the debate.
The candidates also answered questions about advertising, sweepstakes machines and whether judges should be elected or appointed.
Tune in to WWAY NewsChannel 3 Sunday at 6 p.m. to hear from both Dalton and McCrory and to see a recap of the debate.