Birthdate: May 21, 1949
Birth Place: Rutherfordton, NC, United States
Residence: Rutherfordton, NC
Religion: United Methodist
Walter Dalton was born in Rutherfordton, N.C., where he still resides. He received a bachelor's degree and a law degree from the University of North Carolina.
Dalton ran a law office in his hometown and was the attorney for the local county government. He was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1996, filling the seat once held by his late father, who died when Dalton was 8 years old.
Dalton served in the state Senate for six terms, rising to a chief budget-writer's post. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2008. In May 2012, he won the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
He and his wife, Lucille, have two adult children.
Walter Dalton embraced the role of standard bearer for North Carolina's Democratic Party in 2012 when incumbent Gov. Beverly Perdue announced 2 1/2 weeks before the filing deadline that she would not seek re-election. Dalton, the sitting lieutenant governor, won a competitive six-candidate primary in May 2012 for the right to take on Republican nominee Pat McCrory in the race to succeed Perdue.
Dalton, who represented a conservative state Senate district for 12 years before being elected lieutenant governor in 2008, seeks to fit the same mold as business-friendly Democratic chief executives before him, including Jim Hunt and Mike Easley.
Coming from Rutherford County, a former textile and furniture center where unemployment exceeded 15 percent in 2009, Dalton says he has the credentials to talk about worker retraining and recruiting the next big industry to North Carolina.
Like Hunt and Perdue, Dalton also considers himself a passionate advocate for public education. He was the chief sponsor of a 2003 bill that expanded the concept of public high schools where students can earn two years of college credit for free or train for high-tech careers. He's also served on the state public schools and community college boards and formed a commission to align school curricula to a region's worker needs while lieutenant governor.
His arguments in favor of increased education funding put him in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Perdue on her support for a temporary sales tax increase to finance it. The Republican-led Legislature rejected any tax increase, and McCrory and the Republican Governors Association used Dalton's sales tax support to argue that he would continue Perdue's failed policies if elected.
Although Dalton said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press that Perdue's "agenda and my agenda are very much the same," he said in 2012 he was his own man and pointed out he was elected separately from Perdue. He noted in July 2012 that he disagreed with Perdue on her veto of a bill that would authorize fracking.
Dalton has tried to peg McCrory as someone who would continue reckless policies of the GOP majority and would sign bills into law that Perdue had previously vetoed, including one that would require photo identification to vote.
Dalton defeated former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge in the May 2012 primary in part by criticizing Etheridge's lengthy voting record in Congress, which he said sent North Carolina jobs overseas and allowed Bush-era tax cuts on the highest wage-earners to be extended.
Dalton was financially the most prepared Democrat to enter the race after Perdue's departure. His campaign committee had about $600,000 in the bank and a team already readying his repeat bid for lieutenant governor. But the primary has left him at a big disadvantage entering the fall election. McCrory had been accumulating funds for a year and had no substantive primary opponent. As of July 2012, McCrory's campaign had a 6-to-1 cash advantage over Dalton's. Outside groups were expected to spend several million dollars running independent campaign ads.
Source: Associated Press