RALEIGH – In the final days for filing for the May primary, new candidates are still signing up to try to be the state's next top executive.
On Monday, Denver businessman Jim Mahan was the latest to enter the now crowded GOP primary. He said he is ready to take on his party's presumed front-runner.
“My campaign is totally different,” said Mahan. “I am not really running against Pat McCrory. I am running for the 9-million-plus people in this state.”
Mahan is now the fifth candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
Other lesser-known candidates, like Fayetteville small business owner Jim Harney, said they may not have as much name recognition, but they believe their platforms will resonate with the people.
"As the economy has gotten worse and worse and things have slowed down I have always had the desire and goal to get into politics and I think this year is my year," said Harney.
Political observers said these unanticipated candidates should be anticipated and probably won't change the strategy of front runners like Pat McCrory.
“You see this every election cycle,” said political analyst David McLennan. “Even when a party has a presumptive nominee, three or four other people will join the race – unknown to the Republican Party, really unknown to anyone outside of their own immediate circle.”
As for the front runners, like McCrory, they said a clear path to the primary would have been nice, but primary opponents won't change their course this election season.
“But I admire them for running and respect them for running but it is not going to change our campaign one bit,” says McCrory.
In addition to McCrory, Mahan, and Harney, former Judge Paul Wright from Dudley and realtor Charles Kenneth Moss of Randolph County have also filed for the Republican race for governor.
Filing for the May ballot ends Wednesday at noon.