Walter Dalton’s strategy at the first gubernatorial debate tells you two things: He thinks Pat McCrory can’t take a punch. And he has to dramatically change the contour of the race to win.
Attacking might work. A big reason McCrory lost in 2008 was that he failed to answer the Perdue campaign’s late attack on bringing New York trash to North Carolina. This year, McCrory showed a thin skin when attacked on his client work.
At the debate, McCrory tried the classic frontrunner strategy of brushing it all aside with a smile and a quip. That won’t cut it. If you don’t fight back in a debate, your opponent seizes the momentum.
McCrory is leading the race. Dalton has to shake things up. He did. Next we learn: Can McCrory counter-punch?