Salisbury attorney, Bill Graham, has spent a million dollars of his own money to pay for TV ads to express his opposition to the Gas Tax. And, now, he’s getting ready to spend another bundle of his own money to say he’s against illegal immigration.
Graham’s potential opponents might call this buying an election but give Graham credit. He has picked two issues Republican voters care about, he’s speaking out and, now, he’s got a million dollars in name identification no other Republican candidate for governor has.
State Senator Fred Smith seems to be the ‘Inside the Beltline’ Republican candidate this election. Senator Smith has plenty of money of his own; he financed his first State Senate race with a quarter of a million dollars. But while Graham is on TV, speaking out, Smith is not. Why? Apparently, Smith has decided to wait until next year. Or the year after.
But by then the election may be all but over. Smith has allowed Graham to build a 20 odd point lead in the primary. Apparently, Senator Smith thinks that is unimportant. That he can make up the lost ground later. And, yes, that is possible. But Graham isn’t just going to sit still and 20 points is a long way for Senator Smith to start out behind.
In the Republican race for governor, Bill Graham has won the first round and it may turn out to be decisive.
What other candidates? At one time there was talk of Patrick Ballentine or Bill Cobey running for governor but speculation has faded. Jim Cain, the ambassador to Denmark, remains a wild card.The Democrats
Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore, the two Democratic candidates, are both raising tons of money. Both have raised well over a million dollars – and no Republican even comes close (with the exception of Graham who is spending his own money).
Both Moore and Perdue are careful, poll-driven, candidates. Neither seems inclined to take controversial stands. They do not seem to disagree on many issues. The biggest contrast is simply that Moore is a man and Perdue is the first major female candidate for governor. Don’t expect surprises. The Democratic primary for governor promises to be a by-the-book election.
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