RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley is keeping a low profile this election cycle.
He has not hit the campaign trail yet. In recent weeks, he chose not to attend two high-profile Democratic events, a visit by John Edwards and John Kerry to Raleigh and the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
The governor told WRAL he has more important things to do.
On Tuesday, Easley announced 361 new high-paying jobs for the Triangle. The announcement came when most Democratic heavyweights from the state were in Boston for the party convention.
"I feel it's better for me to be here," Easley said, "getting jobs for people in North Carolina."
Easley said he has 79 bills to review and sign over the next 10 days.
"The governor has to be governor," Easley said. "If I have a choice between riding around in an RV, and shaking hands with people at a mall, or geting jobs for people who are unemployed, I am going to work on getting jobs. That's what I was elected to do."
Tom Campbell, moderator for N.C. Spin and someone who has covered politics for 40 years, said Easley already is campaigning in a sense.
"Easley has been accused of being a hands-off governor," Campbell said. "He is demonstrating now, with all his press conferences on job announcements, that he is not a hands-off governor. Secondly is that he recognized that the key issue in this campaign is economy and jobs."
As for Easley's opponent, Patrick Ballantine, Easley said he knows who he is and will do the things he needs to do to win. But he probably will not get started until the November election draws closer.