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Pittenger, Dalton win primary races for lieutenant governor

RALEIGH (AP) ó A pair of state senators ó Republican Robert Pittenger and Democrat Walter Dalton ó will face each other this fall in the race for lieutenant governor after winning party primaries in Tuesdayís election.
There was no such resolution in the Democratic race for labor commissioner, which appears headed for a runoff.
Pittenger beat three Republicans hoping to win the stateís No. 2 post. With 97 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results, Pittenger had 59 percent of the vote. The Charlotte businessman had received endorsements from Sen. Elizabeth Dole and former Gov. Jim Martin, and focused his campaign on what he called inefficiency in government and on lowering state tax rates.
iWeíve had such a good response around the state in our travels,î Pittenger said. iItís heartening. People heard our concerns and the reforms we desire to bring to change how things are done in Raleigh, and weíre grateful for their response.î
Dalton beat three Democrats, winning 46 percent of the vote. Durham attorney Hampton Dellinger was second with 34 percent.
Dalton said heís focused on improving education, creating jobs and improving accessibility to health care.
iObviously Robert and I have different styles, but what I tell people is I donít like to talk about my opponent and critique them,î Dalton said. iI want the people to look at my record of what Iíve done in the Senate and what I want to do.î
Eight candidates were seeking to replace Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, won the Democratic nomination for governor in Tuesdayís election. There were several large fields of challengers in primaries for seats on the Council of State, including a labor commissioner primary in which none of the four candidates were able to claim more than 30 percent of the vote.
Mary Fant Donnan ó a program officer for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem ó led with 28 percent of the vote. Former commissioner John Brooks, Ty Richardson and Robin Anderson all hovered around 24 percent.
The top two will advance to a runoff June 24, assuming the second-place finisher requests one. The results were too close to call early Wednesday.
In the superintendent for public instruction races, incumbent June Atkinson won the Democratic primary, while former state House co-speaker Richard Morgan won the GOP race.
Other winners in Council of State Democratic primary races included: Wayne Goodwin for insurance commissioner; Beth Wood for auditor; and state Sen. Janet Cowell for treasurer.
Morgan had 51 percent of the vote to beat Eric Smith and Joe Johnson. Atkinson had 53 percent in the Democratic race compared to 47 percent for Eddie Davis, president of the North Carolina Association of Education.
In the Democratic race for state insurance commissioner, Goodwin had 56 percent of the vote compared with 44 percent for David Smith. Goodwin is an assistant commissioner who earned the backing of outgoing commissioner Jim Long and will face Republican John Odom in November.
In the Democratic race to replace failed gubernatorial candidate Richard Moore as treasurer, Cowell had 47 percent of the vote to lead David Young and Michael Weisel. She will face Republican state Rep. Bill Daughtridge of Rocky Mount in November.
For state auditor, Wood ó a former auditorís office employee ó had 64 percent of the vote. Retired deputy transportation and correction secretary Fred Aikens trailed with 36 percent in the race to run against GOP incumbent Les Merritt.

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