Local News

Easley Hits Airwaves With Campaign Ads; Ballantine Not Concerned

Posted August 16, 2004 5:35 a.m. EDT

— GOP gubernatorial candidate Patrick Ballantine has hit the campaign trail. Now, incumbent Mike Easley is riding some momentum with his first campaign ad of the race.

Whether it's bill signings or storm response, Gov. Mike Easley has been all over the news lately. Now, Easley is supplementing that air time with campaign ads.

Easley campaign manager Jay Reiff said the governor cannot get complacent despite the latest

Voter's Voice poll

that shows the incumbent with a commanding 51 percent to 35 percent lead over Republican Patrick Ballantine.

Easley also has a huge fund-raising advantage.

"Our opponents have spent well over a million dollars on TV in the primary talking about their message. This is an opportunity for the governor to stand up and talk about what he's done as governor," Reiff said.

"It doesn't surprise us that he's getting out and talking to the people now. We just wish he'd been out talking to people before," said Bob Rosser, Ballantine's campaign manager.

Rosser said he is not concerned about the governor's media push.

"It may be a sign that he sees us as a very serious threat," he said.

Rosser said the Republican nominee may not be on TV right now, but Ballantine's bus tour has made inroads by introducing the challenger to voters. Despite the current disparity in political money and attention, both campaigns expect the race for governor to tighten before November.

As money comes in, the Ballantine campaign plans to return to TV advertising in the coming weeks. Easley and Ballantine are scheduled to meet for their first public forum next month.