RALEIGH (Sept. 26) — For the first time in modern North Carolina history, a gubernatorial debate included a third party candidate. Libertarian Mike Munger appeared last night with Republican Pat McCrory on WUNC-TV.
The third candidate in the race, Democrat Beverly Perdue, declined to participate.
Munger thanked both WUNC-TV and McCrory for making this event possible. “A simple respect for the democratic process requires that all views to be heard,” he said. “The fact that we are both here tonight shows that neither one of us is afraid of making sure all views are presented to the public.
The debate was friendly, even when the candidates disagreed, and peppered with Munger’s usual quips.
Munger called the calls for off-shore drilling “a gimmick” that will only produce a “drop in the ocean of oil.”
He characterized as “economic prostitution” incentives used to lure businesses to North Carolina . “A business that comes to North Carolina for money will leave North Carolina for money,” he said.
In addressing construction of large, new buildings for schools and other public facilities, Munger said “I’m a political scientist; I know the technical term for this: BSOs – Big Shiny Objects.”
Both he and McCrory hit hard at the secrecy and corruption rampant in state government. “We have a play-to-pay system. We sell legislation and auction off public policy,” Munger said. He pledged to bring openness to government saying “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
When asked about the problems with the mental health system overhaul, Munger quipped, “It didn’t look like an overhaul to me. It looked more like a frat party. There was no unaccountability and no oversight.”
The use of the governor’s veto power is “like spanking your child: It means you’re a bad parent, that you haven’t successfully used all of the things that should come before that. Now maybe it sometimes still happens, but it really means it’s a failure for you, and it’s a failure for the child.”
Even though Perdue was absent, her name did come up during the debate, particularly during the discussion on education.
“Bev said she did not want to have all the same paradigms but she also said the governor is responsible for education,” Munger pointed out. “Why aren’t parents responsible for education?”
The sharpest difference between Munger and McCrory came on the issue of the death penalty. Munger said unequivocally he would commute the sentences of all prisoners on death row to life in prison without parole.
“I don’t think we have any business with the government killing our citizens,” he said. Munger believes the death penalty is administered unfairly. “Punishment shouldn’t depend on the color of your skin or how much money you have to pay a lawyer,” he said.
McCrory would immediately resume executions because “it was the people who said this person tragically deserves death as a result of the horrendous crime they committed …”
In closing, Munger addressed the myth that voting for a third party is a wasted vote. One vote does not decide an election, but it can send a signal, he said.
“Unless you have Jedi powers, you’re not going to be able to control the way other people vote,” he said. “You have one precious vote. Your decision on how to cast it will send a signal to our leaders in Raleigh.”
WUNC-TV will air a second gubernatorial debate Oct. 8. Perdue has also declined to participate in this event. Munger will participate in the final debate Oct. 15. It is sponsored WSOC-TV, WTVI CHARLOTTE and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg League of Women Voters. Perdue has accepted this invitation.
LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF NORTH CAROLINA
PO Box 28141 Raleigh NC 27611 * 877.843.5762 * http://www.LPNC.org
Brian Irving, Communications Director, 919.538.4548