RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina voters put a Republican in the Executive Mansion for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday and weighed whether President Barack Obama could repeat his narrow victory from four years ago in the state.
Former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory won the governor's race over Democrat Walter Dalton with 55 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. McCrory lost to Democrat Beverly Perdue in 2008, when Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes. Perdue didn't seek re-election this year.
McCrory will take the oath of office in January. Jim Martin was the last Republican governor, leaving office in 1993.
Private preschool teacher Mary Russ, 43, of Raleigh said her financial circumstances are no better off than four years ago, so she backed Republicans McCrory and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"I was pretty much steady" for the GOP candidates, Russ said.
Irene Jones voted for Dalton, although the 57-year-old pastor and bus driver from Zebulon was much more excited about voting for Obama again. She said the men running for governor never got her interested in the race.
"I couldn't tell a lot of difference. I'm OK with either one of them winning. I'm just going to pray that they do a good job once they get into office," Jones said.
Poll workers at more than 2,700 precincts statewide reported few problems, and none of them disrupted voting for long.
Law enforcement quickly determined a bomb threat to three unspecified Cumberland County precincts was a hoax, State Board of Elections Executive Director Gary Bartlett said. Power went out to four polling places in High Point, but voting never ceased, he said. Poll workers needed a few minutes to reorganize, then backup batteries on the machines and generators kept power on, he said.
"This has been one of the quieter elections I remember, knock on wood," Bartlett said.
It was a cold and cloudy Election Day across the state, but turnout was steady, Bartlett said. More than 2.7 million ballots already cast through mail-in absentee voting and in-person early voting that ended last weekend.