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Easley Says He is Ready to Be Next Governor

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Mike Easley is an attorney who is no stranger to politics.(WRAL-TV5 News)
RALEIGH — Mike Easleyis an attorney who is no stranger to politics. He has worked as a county prosecutor Down East and for the past eight years as the state's attorney general.

His views are a stark contrast to those of his major opponent, RepublicanRichard Vinroot. But like Vinroot, Easley is ready for the voters to speak their minds.

Easley was all smiles when he won the May primary, but since then, he has been in a tough fight. He says he does not know Richard Vinroot personally.

"You know, we don't know each other, and that's not good for politics," Easley says. "I think candidates should spend more time getting to know each other.

Easley is spending the last few days of the campaign shaking hands, answering questions and raising money. He promises a push to reform the way money is raised and spent in campaigns -- and with good reason. When this gubernatorial campaign is over, the price tag to run his campaign will be around $10 million.

"I think what that could have done for poor people in the state, for people who were flooded out a year ago," he says. "To me, it just doesn't make a lot of sense."

Easley has run right down the middle on issues, pushing for lower class size in elementary schools, more access to medical care, and lower cost for prescription drugs. How well could he work with the new president and Congress -- Democrat or Republican?

"I would get along with either one I'm sure," he says. "Any governor is going to be taken seriously by a president or senator or congressman or congresswoman in Washington."

Mike Easley says he is ready to be the state's next governor.

"It's an awesome responsibility, but I've faced this before," he says. "I see the challenges as opportunities. I think the next four years is going to be a great challenge for the next governor of this state, and I look forward to that opportunity."

The polls have tightened in this race, with Easley leading Vinroot by seven points.


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