There's a new name in the race for governor.
State Senator Fred Smith formally entered the race this morning
to become North Carolina's next governor. He joins a Republican
field that already includes former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr
and Salisbury businessman and anti-gas tax advocate Bill Graham.
The three-term Republican from Johnston County has expressed an
interest for the past two years in succeeding Democratic Governor
Easley, saying he spent that time performing what the contractor
and home builder calls "due diligence" on the idea.
He told an audience of family, friends and co-workers that he's
running because North Carolina needs a governor who can make tough
decisions, and that his lifetime of service in business and government make him qualified for the job. During the 15-minute speech, Smith also mentioned support for protecting private property rights and supporting a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.