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Dan Besse responds 

I enjoy Bob Geary's writing and was a bit disappointed to see his post-election comments on the lieutenant governor race ("High noon in Mayberry," May 7).

To many of us, it seems a bit hard to justify the suggestion that a serving elected official with a 20-year record of progressive public service should have quit a race because a first-time candidate wanted the same post. So the argument that "isn't it a shame that Besse supporters didn't back [Hampton] Dellinger instead" works at least as well the other way around.

Until Dellinger began using his superior bank account to advertise heavily at the very end of the race, we were tied in the polls. While I didn't start with large buckets of family cash, I had realistic hopes of drawing a far stronger contribution base, had the progressive groups that split between Dellinger and myself come in uniformly on my side. We were both making strong bids for those endorsements, and had no way to know who would prevail until long after we were both committed to the contest.

I suggest that instead we agree it was great to have both Dellinger and me in the contest drawing North Carolina's policy debate toward the progressive side of issues. As I recall, part of the Independent's stated rationale in endorsing Dellinger was that the post itself was meaningless, but would give him an opportunity to raise progressive issues and campaign for governor.

We will have many more opportunities to build on that start in the future.

Thanks very much to all my supporters in this election.

Dan Besse
Winston-Salem

The writer was a candidate for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary.

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