State News

Easley to Endorse Clinton

Posted April 28, 2008
Updated April 29, 2008

— Gov. Mike Easley has decided to endorse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, lending the support of the state's top elected Democrat to her underdog effort to beat Sen. Barack Obama in the state's May 6 primary.

"I think it's a tremendous boost to the campaign and its a reaffirmation of the momentum that we have in the state and a reaffirmation of Sen. Clinton's message and its importance ... to the people of North Carolina," Tom Hendrickson, an adviser to Clinton in North Carolina, told The Associated Press.

Hendrickson said a formal endorsement event was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday in Raleigh.

Easley is a Democratic super-delegate who has served as the state's governor for two terms. His decision comes despite several polls showing the New York senator trailing Obama in North Carolina as they compete for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Elon University Poll Director Hunter Bacot said the endorsement may help move Clinton's numbers a few percentage points, but will only serve to solidify support among conservative Democrats such as Easley.

"I think it will help her attract the type of voters she's been attracting throughout her campaign – usually the moderate to lower-income white vote, particularly in more rural areas," Bacot said. "She's been strong in that demographic throughout."

Like almost all the state's super-delegates, Easley had initially supported former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards during his second bid for the White House. He becomes just the second super-delegate from North Carolina to endorse Clinton, while six of the state's 17 super-delegates have pledged to support Obama.

While he is not a super-delegate, Edwards remains the biggest prize among North Carolina Democrats, Bacot said. Since leaving the race in January, Edwards has remained silent on which of his two former rivals he plans to support.

A former state attorney general, Easley has focused largely on education programs during his eight-year tenure. He's called on both of the presidential candidates to talk more about the issue.

"Gov. Easley understands that education and a good economy are intertwined, and he understands that more than anyone else in the country," Hendrickson said.

Two week ago, Easley wrote a note to Obama imploring the Illinois senator to take part in a debate that would have taken place Sunday in Raleigh. Obama declined, saying he wasn't sure it would fit with his schedule, and the state Democratic Party later abandoned the debate plans.


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  • NCpatriot99 Apr 29, 2008

    How in the world could he endorse Obama who smiled and agreed thru 20 years of Wright's wrongs. Also subjected his two vulnerable girls to Wrights America-hating and white-bashing.

  • buckeye1 Apr 29, 2008

    RetGr6, Could not have said it better myself. Clinton has a better track record, though not hte best but better. She has stood up for america on so many fronts. Your Obama has ran from critical choices as senator, turned his back on his own community in his first term as senator be begin his quest to distoy us ALL. Mark my words....

  • davidgnews Apr 28, 2008

    No surprise here. Isn't Easley a 'superdelegate?'

  • CombatMed Apr 28, 2008

    One inadequate politician endorses another. This is sure not surprising. I'm yet another Independent and will cast my vote for Mr. Obama. Thanks for the help Governor.

  • jbtilley Apr 28, 2008

    So isn't it almost mathematically impossible for Clinton to come into the convention with a delegate lead? The only way for Clinton to win is via the super delegates, which would equate to voter disenfranchisment.

    Why do people (Easley in this case) continue to draw this contest out? One could only hope that Obama wins NC by a large enough margin so as to end all doubt. Of course that won't happen.

  • Eduardo1 Apr 28, 2008

    Wonderful choice dear Governor. What are we a 2nd class state, with no debate? I am a political Independent, and I now will support Sen Clinton. I believe, we are who we associate with, and Sen Obama/Rev Wright that association bothers the heck out of me. Also, Sen Obama who keeps talking about the Washington people, where do you work? What legislation have you were the initial sponsor to bring around changes in the USA? You, Clinton & McCain all share in the problems of our country. You have been running around our country for the past 18 months, screaming change. Why are you not in Washington proposing those changes?

  • popedesign2003 Apr 28, 2008

    He probably took into consideration the fact that Obama supports in-state for illegal immigrants. Seems crazy to me that someone from a neighboring state would have to pay up to tens of thousands of dollars more to go to college in NC while people who are breaking the law get a benefit. I support Hillary too.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 28, 2008

    Easley is just demonstrating he is still out of touch with the people outside of four walls. Has anyone told him it has been raining lately. He is still wasting the million dollars on those stupid drought ads. Apparently know one told him we figured out we were in a drought last year.

  • BULLDOZER Apr 28, 2008

    operation chaos has gotten into the executive mansion. Yee hah!!

  • x Apr 28, 2008

    Maybe Reverend Wright will come out and openly endorse the Clintons, too, since he seems intent on keeping all the negative press focused on Obama. I keep wishing Wright would go away and take Easley with him.