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Former Mayor Calls Fetzer Spending Obscene

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RALEIGH — It's election day, and oneof the incumbents is expected to be an easy winner. Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzeris running for re-election against several relatively unknown opponents.So the question is, why did Fetzer spend so much time, effort and moneyon a campaign? 

Turnout in most precincts was as low as predicted, and maybe that'swhy spending was relatively high, at least for mayor. Incumbant mayor TomFetzer spent thousands on tv and radio ads. 

Campaign finance records show that Fetzer spent close to $300,000 dollarson his re-election effort. Fetzer's nearest competitor, as far as spendinggoes, was Democrat Venita Peyton, who dropped just shy of $3,000 on themayorial race.

Fetzer told WRAL his spending made up for slanted press coverage andan endorsement of his challanger by theThe News and ObserverofRaleigh. 

Some believe Fetzer feared a similar election to 1977, when underdogIsabella Cannon upset Incumbant Jyles Coggins. 

"The first money I got was a dollar from my newspaper boy," Cannon recalls."My contributions were $5, $10, or $25. Cannon was on a different levelfrom Coggins and the big money. 

 

Now 93, Cannon ran on a neighborhood first platform. She was referredto the little old lady in tennis shoes. But at 73 years old with a smallcampaign budget, Cannon won by about one thousand votes. The former mayorcan't believe Fetzer's $300,000 spending figure. 

 

"I think it's obscene," Cannon explains. "Its absolutely obscene fora $15,000 job. The job at my time was $6,000. That's what I got." 

There has been some speculation that Mayor Fetzer was gearing up fora gubernatorial campaign in the year 2000. He says that's not the case.Tuesday, he just wanted to win. 

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