RALEIGH (AP) -- North Carolina's lieutenant governor wields little power, yet a crop of eight candidates is competing for the state's No. 2 spot. The position is at the least a stepping stone for higher office. The race is wide open because incumbent Beverly Perdue is forced to step down after two terms and is running for governor. Voters will choose among the four Democrats and four Republicans in primaries Tuesday. If the leading candidate in each party primary fails to get more than 40 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held June 24. The candidates: DEMOCRATS - Dan Besse, Winston-Salem, attorney, city council member. - Walter Dalton, Rutherfordton, state senator. - Hampton Dellinger, Durham, attorney. - Pat Smathers, Canton, mayor. REPUBLICANS - Timothy Cook, Brown Summit, industrial chemist. - Greg Dority, Washington, security consulting company executive. - Robert Pittenger, Charlotte, state senator, president of real estate investment firm. - Jim Snyder, Lexington, attorney. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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