Republican Pat McCrory is now North Carolina's governor after being sworn in during a low-key ceremony in the old state Capitol.
Chief Justice Sarah Parker administered the oath of office to the former Charlotte mayor shortly after noon Saturday in the old House chambers. McCrory is the first Republican governor since Jim Martin left office in 1993.
McCrory's wife, Ann, other family members and his incoming Cabinet attended the ceremony, which was held a week before the public inauguration. McCrory said he wanted his administration in place as the Legislature convened next week in Raleigh.
McCrory ran for governor in 2008 but lost to Democrat Beverly Perdue. Perdue chose not to run last year, and McCrory defeated Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton in November. Perdue participated in Saturday's ceremony.
Republican Pat McCrory is taking the oath for North Carolina governor early rather than waiting another week for the pomp of inauguration weekend.
McCrory and his Cabinet will be sworn in during midday ceremonies Saturday inside the old Capitol building in Raleigh.
The incoming governor and other Council of State members still will be publicly installed and feted during the outdoor inauguration and parade Jan. 12.
The former Charlotte mayor decided to get sworn in Saturday so his administration would be in place when the newly-elected General Assembly convenes next week and chooses leaders.
McCrory will hold open houses from Asheville to New Bern next week before the festivities revert to Raleigh with the ball and public ceremonies.
Outgoing Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue is expected to participate in Saturday's ceremony.