RALEIGH -- The final push for primary victories is on here in North Carolina and some top contenders are bringing out some notable names to show support for their candidacy.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Etheridge was surrounded by fellow Democrats Monday morning, showing the strong support he has in his effort to win the Democratic nomination.
“Never have I seen the challenges any greater than they are right now,” Etheridge told the crowd.
He is considered one of the front runners in this race, but recently has slipped in the polls to second place.
Current Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton now holds about a 10-point lead. For his part, Dalton is able to show a long list of endorsements for his candidacy and a much bigger war chest than his fellow democrats.
Political observers said this is the type of momentum candidates need leading into a primary races.
“I think Walter Dalton should feel like he is in pretty good shape,” said political analyst David McLennan. “He survived the debates, unscathed, and his advertising is generally upbeat and kind of memorable advertising that he had four years ago when he ran for lieutenant governor.”
Elon University, which polls both registered voters and non-registered North Carolinians, released a poll Monday which said just one week out from primary day and more than a week into early voting, most voters still don't know who the candidates are or where they stand.
“I would be a little bit alarmed that so many candidates just aren't known to people,” said John Robinson with Elon University.
All the attention on the Democrats isn't overshadowing the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, Pat McCrory.
He is out-fundraising all other gubernatorial opponents by a large margin, and with Republican star, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by his side Monday, said he ready to fight for North Carolina.
I am using his advice during this past year, and actually used it as mayor of Charlotte also,” said McCrory, “in getting his input and ideas on both economic development and education.”
North Carolina voters head to the polls May 8 for the primary.