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Daughtry Wants to be First Businessman to Serve as Governor in Decades

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RALEIGH — There are only a few days left until North Carolina's primary. Five major candidates are making the run for the Governor's office, including republican candidate Leo Daughtry, who describes himself as a hardworking, caring, family man.

Daughtry is smooth on the stump and likes to call people he knows "Buddy." The Smithfield native wants to be North Carolina's first businessman to serve as Governor in 40 years.

"I've been making a payroll since I was 24 years old. I've borrowed money, and I've paid it back, and I've created good jobs," he says.

Daughtry made his fortune selling beer and wine and his law firm has represented video gambling companies. His rivals are trying to use those business ties against him.

"People who are opposed to that business, then they'll have to vote against me," he says, "because that's part of who I am, and that's what I'm saying to the people. That's a good business, it's a legal business and I'm very proud of it."

Daughtry is also proud of his legislative experience: 10 years in theGeneral Assembly.

"I was there when we cut our taxes, when we reformed welfare, when we gave senior citizens additional tax relief through homestead exemptions," he says.

In his campaign for governor, Daughtry supports giving local school boards, principals, teachers and parents more freedom.

He also wants to trim the size and the cost of state government.

"I know that it's gotten too large, that it spends too much, it regulates too much, and it taxes too much," he says. "I think my legislative experience and my business experience give me a leg up on my two opponents."

After serving as house majority leader, Daughtry knows what it takes to get laws passed.

"I think it takes leadership," he says. "I think it takes the ability to talk to all kinds of people, to bring them together, and I think that's what the governor needs to be about."

Friday, WRAL will profile Chuck Neely.