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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Former US Rep. Bob Etheridge will officially become a candidate for North Carolina governor with a few hours to spare before the filing period ends.

An Etheridge spokesman said Tuesday that the Harnett County Democrat will turn in his candidate paperwork early Wednesday. The deadline is noon Wednesday.

Four other people already have filed for the May primary, which opened up wide when incumbent Beverly Perdue announced last month she would not run again. Leading Democratic candidates who’ve already filed are Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison.

Etheridge has been a relatively quiet campaigner since he announced Feb. 2 that he was getting into the race.

Five Republicans and one Libertarian also are in the race. The leading Republican is former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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