For the first time since 1992, when he won his first term as state attorney general, a presidential election year will pass in 2008 without Gov. Mike Easley running for statewide office.
But the race to replace Easley figures to focus on his record in the Executive Mansion.
Both Democratic candidates are part of Easley's executive branch.
The three announced Republican candidates say Easley, who is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term, failed on several fronts during his eight years as governor, from signing bloated budgets to failing to lower the state's high school dropout rate.