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The News & Observer reports how the candidates for governor are spending their money.



Republican Fred Smith led the way spending the most, including $360,000 to publish his book, A Little Extra Effort, $100,000 for Lee Greenwood to write a song about him and $90,000 for barbecue.



The second biggest spender, Bill Graham, spent $1.5 million, including $190,000 to pay college students to knock on doors for him in six cities.



The Democrats, Richard Moore and Beverly Perdue each spent a little less than Graham. But they spent it differently. Between them, Moore and Perdue spent $340,000 on research, $210,000 on media consulting and $80,000 on polling.



Now, what’s wrong with this picture?



Why are the Republicans spending their money on barbeque dinners while the Democrats are paying for polling?



The Republicans say they are building name ID.



But think about that.



Fred Smith spent $550,000 on books, a song and barbecue dinners – where he spoke to 13,000 people.



For the same $550,000 he could have run TV ads in Raleigh over five months and talked to a million voters.



I’m afraid the Democrats have it right and the Republicans have it backwards.



The Democrats spent their money on research, polling and media – the things that go into the ads you’re seeing now on TV.



By comparison, the Republicans say they built name ID with barbecue dinners or by paying students $260,000 to knock on doors.



But we tried that strategy thirty years ago when Senator Jesse Helms ran for re-election the first time. In 1977 and early 1978 we held 200 barbeque dinners and lunches. Senator Helms went up four points in the polls. Then in April of 1978 we spent $250,000 on TV – and he went up ten points. That was all we needed to know. You build support by going on television and telling voters where you stand on taxes and education and the difference between you and your opponent.



That’s exactly what Richard Moore and Beverly Perdue are doing.



And the Republicans need to start doing the same thing.



Here’s a suggestion: The News & Observer just reported that DOT Board Members have skirted state ethic laws by failing to report how much money they raised for Governor Easley and other Democrats – which negates the whole purpose of the law: To expose the link between campaign contributions and roads.



Exposing the role of politics and money and roads in North Carolina’s DOT could be a lot bigger scandal then Jim Black and the Lottery.



One of the Republican candidates should put an ad about that on TV tomorrow.



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