The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 18th

Easley, Vinroot End Race With Rallies

RALEIGH-DURHAM - Everyone from N.C. political candidates to higher education bond referendum supporters spent Monday prepping for today's election by using their remaining hours in a last-ditch effort to win.

N.C. gubernatorial candidates spent the last day before the election presenting their platforms to potential voters one last time.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Vinroot started his whirlwind tour of the state in Asheville before visiting Greensboro, Raleigh, Greenville and Wilmington. The tour ended in Charlotte, home to Vinroot's campaign headquarters.

Democratic candidate Mike Easley attended a noontime rally in Raleigh with several other Democratic candidates from across the state before making a number of television appearances in the afternoon.

Vinroot visited N.C. GOP headquarters during his stop in Raleigh, where he promoted the Republican party as a whole and voiced his support for Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

About 100 people wearing "Vinroot 2000" stickers gathered to hear him speak.

"If you want real reform and don't want your taxes raised - if you want better government, not bigger government, then I'm your man, and so is George W. Bush," Vinroot said.

Vinroot also touted his plans for taxes and education. He said he wants to contain state spending to keep taxes low.

The former Charlotte mayor also reiterated his plan to improve education by implementing a system in which teachers are paid based on performance, not tenure. "I want tests given to make sure teachers are capable of educating our children," he said. Vinroot said he wants a system allowing lower-income families to receive vouchers for private schools.

While Vinroot was encouraging his supporters, about 150 people rallied in Durham to support Easley, even though the candidate himself was not there.

Supporters waved signs and cheered to the music of the Hillside High School marching band.

Gov. Jim Hunt attended the rally on Easley's behalf, touting the Democrat as his best successor. "I'm very proud Mike Easley is a champion to public schools and is opposed to vouchers," Hunt said.

In addition to making television appearances, Easley also hosted a gathering for his campaign volunteers Monday at his headquarters in Raleigh.

Hunt said Easley would continue the programs he has already begun, such as Smart Start, a program to prepare children for kindergarten.

Under his campaign proposals, Easley would improve education through funding from a state lottery and by raising teacher's salaries.

Hunt traveled around the state Monday with several other political contenders, promoting Democratic Party candidates, including presidential candidate Al Gore.

Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., also attended the Durham rally, along with lieutenant governor candidate Beverly Perdue and the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House 4th District seat, incumbent David Price. The 4th District includes Orange County.

While the candidates spent the waning hours of this year's election season attempting to persuade voters to support them, advocates of the largest bond referendum in state history focused on getting voters to the polls.

The $3.1 billion bond referendum will be on the ballot today. Money from the proposal would go to fund capital improvements at the state's universities and community colleges.

"There's not much more we can do," said Reyna Walters, the campaign's student outreach coordinator.

"It's up to the voters now."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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