UPDATED: A major question entering the gubernatorial campaign: How would outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue handle the election of her successor?
At first glance, it seems that she ignored the governor's race. She didn't appear on the campaign trail for Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and kept $1.3 million in her campaign account instead of donating it to the state Democratic Party to help her would-be successor. On Monday, the day before the election, Perdue's lone public event is a digital learning conference in Asheboro.
It was a tricky situation because Republicans were eager to tie Dalton to the unpopular incumbent governor -- and did so repeated. Republican Pat McCrory linked the names -- "the Perdue-Dalton agenda" -- in his speeches and the state Republican Party called him "Bev Part Two." It grew to a point where the Dalton campaign refused to answer any questions about Perdue.
But Perdue still had value: $2 million in campaign cash at the start of the year and a cadre of loyal supporters Dalton needed to win. So she helped behind the scenes, aides said.
Perdue helped bring former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to North Carolina for a couple fundraisers and spoke positively about Dalton at a Democratic Governors Association event earlier this year in Charlotte, her spokesman Marc Farinella said.
She also gave the state party $250,000 to help Dalton and the Democratic ticket and wrote his campaign a $4,000 check, he added.
Whether it amounted to the minimal effort or full-throated support is a matter of debate. Afterall, the governor's decision at the last minute not to seek a second term putting Dalton at a disadvantage from the start -- a move that essentially delivering the election to Republicans, political observers say.
UPDATED: Corrected an earlier version with imprecise wording.