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Summer mud slinging

A Republican primary run-off in the governor’s race is more than possible, as suggested by recent published reports. It’s probable. To win the primary a candidate must receive more than 40 percent of ballots cast and that’s highly unlikely with six candidates in the race July 20.
Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot currently leads in the polls, followed by former Republican Party chairman Bill Cobey and former state Sen. Patrick Ballantine. Two of these three will likely wind up in the run-off. The other three candidates, Moore County businessman George Little, Union County Sen. Fern Shubert and Davie County Commissioner Dan Barrett, have regional support but lack the recognition of the others. (Barrett is certainly making the effort by literally hiking the campaign trail.) The run-off would take place Aug. 17 if the second-place finisher formally seeks the race.
So, look for some big-time head butting to keep you entertained during the lazy days of summer. That’s certainly something Gov. Mike Easley would be glad to watch. All the negative advertising aimed at a candidate who will ultimately be his opponent helps bolster his own standing with voters.
The same is in store for South Carolina, where former Gov. David Beasley and former U.S. Rep.Jim DeMint are in a Republican run-off battle for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings. The Democrat in that race, Inez Tennenbaum, is looking forward to the mud-slinging.
That’s the trouble with multi-candidate primary races. The winner comes out bloodied and weak just as he or she is supposed to take on the candidate from the opposing party. Of course it could work to the disadvantage of either party. But this year it seems to be the GOP.
In the old days party leaders often put their heads together and avoided these family fights, but today it seems just the opposite is happening. We can only hope that these supposedly intelligent politicians knew what they were doing when they entered the races and that their survival proves not only their skills at head bashing but also their prowess at leadership. by Albert Dozier

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