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Republican Chairman To Run For Durham County District Attorney

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham Republican County Chairman Steve Monks plans to challenge Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong in the upcoming November elections.

"Everybody in Durham is torn up about this case," Monks said. "We don't know if justice is being served. I looked around for some candidates and nobody was stepping up, so I decided it was time for me to step up."

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    Monks, who is being backed by the group, Concerned Citizens for Accountable Government, said he will have to file a petition with 6,500 signatures by the end of June to appear on the November ballot. He said he didn't want to run as a write-in candidate, as private attorney and county commissioner Lewis Cheek is considering.

    Even though he has no experience as a prosecutor and has never run for elected office, Monks said he thought it was important that someone challenge Nifong.

    "I think there's some question in people's minds about whether justice can be accomplished in that courthouse over there," Monks told WRAL outside the Durham County Courthouse.

    No Republicans ran in last month's primary election, in which Nifong defeated two Democratic challengers and appeared set to remain in office following an uncontested general election in November.

    Monks and other Durham County Republicans have been critical of Nifong's handling of the Duke lacrosse rape investigation, in which an exotic dancer alleges she was raped by three lacrosse athletes at an off-campus party in March.

    Three lacrosse players -- David Evans, 23, Reade Seligmann, 20 and Collin Finnerty, 19 -- have been charged in connection with the case. All three players have court hearings scheduled for Thursday, although none are expected to attend in person and will instead be represented by their attorneys.

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