RALEIGH, N.C. — Rickey Kipfer, 49, is opening a sandwich business, and he is shooting for the top in his first run for public office. He wants to unseat Gov. Mike Easley.
"It's kind of hard to make a living here in North Carolina," he said. "We pay the seventh-highest state income tax in the nation here. During the time, I was looking at those sort of things, I discovered we have enough natural gas here in North Carolina to run the nation for over 100 years, and that's according to the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)."
Kipfer believes tapping into natural gas in North Carolina could put the state on the same financial footing as Alaska.
"They have no state income tax, no state sales tax. They send every man, woman and child about $2,000 a year. I don't see why that shouldn't be us," he said.
The Lee County Democrat shopped that message at a recent John Kerry-John Edwards rally.
"They offered to let me speak, but I preferred to work the crowd and talk to the voters. I recruited over 100 campaign workers that day," Kipfer said.
On the whole, Kipfer's campaign to unseat Easley has been low-key, but the campaign has hurt his personal finances. He said he quit a well-paying job to run for office.