RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pat McCrory will be the first Republican governor in North Carolina in 20 years.
Unofficial results show McCrory won the governor's race on Tuesday over Democrat Walter Dalton.
The former Charlotte mayor had 55 percent of the vote compared to Dalton -- the sitting lieutenant governor -- at 43 percent with 2.2 million votes counted.
Libertarian Barbara Howe had less than 2 percent.
McCrory is the former Charlotte mayor who ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Beverly Perdue in 2008. Perdue didn't seek re-election this year, setting the stage for McCrory. McCrory benefited from a repeat run for governor and a sizeable cash advantage over Dalton.
Jim Martin was the last Republican governor, leaving office in 1993. McCrory will take the oath of office in January.
According to the Associated Press, McCrory got his biggest boost from the 6 in 10 people who said the economy was their biggest issue. He won 3 out of 5 of their votes.
Most of the 1 in 5 people who said health care was the most important issue voted for Dalton.
Perdue released the following statement following the news of McCrory's win:
“Bob and I would like to congratulate Pat McCrory on his election as North Carolina’s next governor. We spoke briefly this evening by phone and I offered him my full assistance in his transition to our state’s highest office. I have instructed my staff and administration to work closely with members of the governor-elect’s team to help ensure a smooth transition. I would like to thank Walter Dalton for his years of service to his community and state. Tonight, I ask all North Carolinians to come together, put the acrimony behind us, and work with Governor-elect McCrory to move North Carolina forward.”
The Republican Governors Associated released a statement within minutes of the announcement, congratulating McCrory on the victory.
"Pat McCrory’s positive, results-oriented vision for North Carolina helped him lead the Republican ticket tonight, and with Pat as governor, North Carolina residents can look forward to four years of balanced budgets, limited taxes and economic growth,” said RGA Chairman Bob McDonnell. “I look forward to personally welcoming Pat to the RGA and am pleased we could play a role in his victory."