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Odom Kicks Off Last-Ditch Campaign Blitz

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RALEIGH, N.C. — One week from Tuesday, voters in Raleigh will elect a number of new leaders, including a mayor.

Councilman John Odom is challenging incumbent Charles Meeker in the mayoral race. If you are not sure what the differences are between the two candidates, you probably are not alone.

Odom's last-ditch campaign blitz is a mobile billboard -- a sign that he does not have the money to run TV ads.

"I'm not very good at asking for money," Odom said. "So that's probably a detriment to me as far as the number of dollars that have been raised."

Campaign finance reports show Odom raised about $100,000 -- about half of what incumbent Meeker raised. And Meeker has only raised half of what he spent two years ago to win the office.

Political analysts say a lack of funds may be the result of a lack of differences between these two campaigns.

In the past, there has been a major issue dividing the candidates for mayor. This year, there is not.

That is not to say Odom and Meeker agree on everything. Odom wants to go back to the old trash pickup schedule and increase parking fines downtown.

"We would fine people $25 more for parking illegally," he said.

Meeker would not do either. But he would continue planting trees and raise the fees developers pay for infrastructure.

"Our fees are currently one-seventh or one-eighth of what Cary's are," Meeker said, "one-fourth of what Apex's are."

The question is: What percentage of voters will care?

Meeker said he plans to start running TV ads Tuesday. Odom is hoping his mobile billboard will do the job.

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