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Lone Female In GOP Governor's Race Gains National Attention

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A woman is among six Republican candidates trying to unseat Gov. Mike Easley. WRAL talked with state Sen. Fern Shubert, who is stirring up debate on a national scale.

A native North Carolinian from Union County, Shubert's roots go back to the Revolution. She had no political experience when she first was elected to the state House in 1994 as a Republican in a heavily-Democratic district.

"I'm not sure who was the most surprised -- the Democrats or the Republicans," Shubert said. "Theoretically, a Republican couldn't win that district, but I won it three times. So, obviously, the theory was inaccurate."

A Certified Public Accountant, Shubert said her appeal is that she is not a career politician. She is critical of officials tied to special interests and said Gov. Easley is doing nothing to stop it.

"The public hasn't been told what's happening in Raleigh," Shubert said. "That's the big problem."

Meanwhile, a Shubert campaign ad that ties Easley to terrorism is drawing national attention.

"Within days of 9-11," according to the TV spot, "Mike Easley signed a law that made it easier for terrorists, illegal aliens, drunk drivers and everyone except law-abiding citizens to get driver's licenses."

Easley said the ad is not true --and shameful.

WRAL asked Shubert if it was fair to invoke the memory of 9-11 in an election year.

"I'm so glad you asked," Shubert said, "because the people bringing it up now are the families of the victims of 9-11. They helped put that ad together."

Shubert said she has no regrets about the ad, especially if it helps tighten the requirements for driver's licenses. She said her other top priorities, if she is elected, will be education, jobs and open government.

"You're never going to find somebody that agrees with you on every single issue," she said. "Somebody that'll be honest with you is a pretty good thing to have."

Shubert served three terms in the state House before her election to the state Senate two years ago.

She is heavily involved in education issues. She serves as the director for the North Carolina Division of the National Right to Read Foundation.

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