10/22/04 — Ballantine hopes to continue win streak

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Ballantine hopes to continue win streak

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on October 22, 2004 2:01 PM

Introduced Thursday afternoon as "a man who has never lost an election," Patrick Ballantine grinned and let out a whoop.

"Let's keep that going!" he said, and the 30 people in Wayne County Republican headquarters cheered.

Ballantine, though, will need to make up serious ground to keep his streak intact. The Republican trails Gov. Mike Easley by double-digits in most recent polls with 11 days to go before the election.

Patrick Ballantine

News-Argus/Matt Shaw

Patrick Ballantine, left, greets supporters at Wayne County Republican headquarters. The Wilmington Republican made several stops in Wayne on Thursday.

But he's hopeful because his campaign seems to be worrying Easley. The governor is finally holding some of his first campaign events, Ballantine said, adding that a Winston-Salem newspaper had written that "Ballantine is bringing the hermit out of his cave."

Easley still has more resources than Ballantine does for the final days. The former state legislator hopes to counter that by mobilizing Republicans and asking to recruit their families, friends, co-workers and others into the Ballantine camp.

"We can win Wayne County, and I know we can win North Carolina," he said.

The candidate is getting a good response on the road by harping on Easley's record, he said. "The governor is not doing the job he was elected to do. If he was, I wouldn't be running."

Easley has raised taxes three times in three years, Ballantine said. He has raided the highway trust fund, state employees' retirement accounts and money that was earmarked for local governments.

Yet, Easley's ads have said that Ballantine is the one who has voted for tax increases and would need a $1.5 billion hike to pay for a promised raise to state employees, Ballantine said. "His ads are almost like the Twilight Zone."

Easley's ads have also trumpeted small tax cuts while ignoring the mush larger hikes, Ballantine said. "All he talks about is the crumbs he gives back. He doesn't talk about the pie he's taken away from us."

He summarized his own political agenda in three statements: Lower taxes, create a better business climate, and improve health care.