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Early Speculation About 2008 Governor's Race Centers On 2 Women

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Election Day is a week away, but some political observers are already looking ahead to 2008, when North Carolina voters could make history by electing a female governor.

Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdure


U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick

are two names being circulated as potential candidates to make gubernatorial runs in 2008 when Gov. Mike Easley must vacate the office after serving back-to-back four-year terms.

"I do believe I'd be the best person to lead the state," said Perdue, a Democrat.

But, she said she was not ready to make a gubernatorial run official.

And, neither is Myrick. The Charlotte Republican will say only that she is considering requests for her to run for governor.

"Obviously, being a member of the U.S. House delegation gives you a tremendous amount of power within the state party," said Andrew Taylor, associate professor of political science at N.C. State University.

Recent polls show Myrick and Perdue have the most name recognition in their respective parties among a field of potential candidates for governor.

Such early recognition for Myrick and Perdue is occurring in a state that has lagged behind other states in electing female candidates, said David McLennan, associate professor of communication, politics and public affairs at Peace College.

"The southeastern part of the country has fewer women serving in public office than any other region in the country," McLennan said. "So, we've had fewer women put into a position where they would be well-enough known to run for office."

But times have changed, he said.

Elizabeth Dole became North Carolina's first female U.S. senator three years ago.

Recent polls also revealed an overwhelming number of eligible voters said they would have no problem with a woman serving as North Carolina's chief executive.

Political observers added that 2008 could be the year for a female governor in North Carolina.

"It is highly possible we could have two women as the major party nominees," Taylor said.


Laurie Clowers, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer

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