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Candidates Scramble to Fill Easley's Seat as Attorney General

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RALEIGH — Voters will soon decide who should be our state's top law enforcement officer -- the man who succeeds Mike Easley as the state's attorney general. The election pits an up-and-coming politician against a newcomer who made a name for himself with two high-profile lawsuits.

Democrat Roy Cooper is a state lawmaker known for reforming North Carolina's crime laws. Republican Dan Boyce is a lawyer and former federal prosecutor. Both men have their sights set on the attorney general's office.

Cooper counts Gov. Jim Hunt among his supporters. The state senator from Rocky Mount wants to be the top law enforcement officer in North Carolina.

"I wrote the juvenile crime law to protect us from juvenile criminals," he says. "I wrote the crime victim's bill of rights."

He says he will put more law enforcement officers in public schools.

Republican Dan Boyce is the political outsider in the attorney general's race. His law firm won multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the state over the intangibles tax and state retirees' pensions.

Boyce is running on a platform he calls the four "E's."

"My platform is pretty simple," he says. "Experience as a lawyer, not a politician. Enforcement of all laws, including the constitution. Efficiency of office, and Enthusiasm for the job, not politics."

Boyce implies that Cooper would use position of attorney general as a stepping-stone. He has issued a challenge that Cooper calls a campaign stunt.

"I've challenged both opponents to sign a contract, pledging as long as one of us is attorney general, we will not run for higher office," Boyce says.

"I have no plans to do that. I want to be attorney general of North Carolina," Cooper says.

Reform Party candidate Margaret Palms is also running for attorney general. She practices law in Boone and is not actively campaigning.


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