Local Politics

Perdue, Moore Campaigns Begin Political Sniping

Posted September 7, 2007 5:59 p.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2007 7:32 p.m. EDT

— Eight months before the 2008 primary, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore have started gearing up in the fight for the Democratic nomination for governor.

The two political heavyweights have already raised more than $4 million apiece for the campaign, and their campaign staffers are beginning to snipe at each other.

Moore's campaign all but accused Perdue of flip-flopping on issues like the death penalty, for example.

"One side, she's throwing red meat to the law enforcement crowd, and then she turns around and indicates she may be for ending the death penalty," said Jay Reiff, a spokesman for Moore's campaign.

Perdue's camp said her position was being distorted. Spokesman David Kochman said she supports the death penalty but wants it halted until issues of fairness and a doctor's role are resolved.

"It's clear that Richard Moore thinks the only way he can win is to go negative and to run a scorched-earth campaign," Kochman said.

Reiff also criticized Perdue for waiting to officially announce her run for governor.

"The Perdue campaign wants to duck and hide and run out the clock and not engage in an open, honest debate in this campaign," he said.

"She's not going to let it get dragged into the gutter the way Richard Moore wants, and the fall is when we think its appropriate to announce her campaign," Kochman said.

Peace College political science professor David McLennan said Perdue's strategy makes sense.

"She's employing the strategy most front-runners employ," he said. "Why put yourself at risk when you don't need to?"

McLennan said Democrats need to be careful not to get too bloody during the primary because the winner will have to take on the top Republican for governor next fall.

So far, state Sen. Fred Smith, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Orr and Salisbury attorney Bill Graham are running for the GOP nomination.

"I think we're gong to see it get worse before it gets better," McLennan said.