County GOP members roared for Pat McCrory, who was already claiming one early victory.
"We've accomplished half our goal before the competition even starts," said McCrory. "Bev Perdue will not be our next governor of North Carolina!"
McCrory spoke to a room full of Wake County GOP foot soldiers, volunteers whose job come November will be helping to get out the vote in the governor's race.
McCrory came to the event armed with new promises if he wins. He pledged to pass and sign every bill vetoed by Perdue then take on President Obama's healthcare plan.
"North Carolina will be at the plate to challenge the federal takeover of our healthcare system," said McCrory.
McCrory's appearance at the fairgrounds came a day after officially filing his candidacy for governor. He raised eyebrows Wednesday by gently criticizing Republicans in the State House for their surprise midnight vote last month to overturn a Perdue veto.
"Even though I agree with what they did, I don't agree with the timing of it," said McCrory on Wednesday.
A day later, McCrory insisted he's not trying to distance himself from Republicans in an appeal for more independent voters.
"I think this speech I gave tonight appeals to independents, not just them but I think a lot of Democrats are going to come our way too," said McCrory.