DINE AND DASH: McIntyre/Pantano crisscross district in final hours

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A hearty breakfast is a great way to start the day.  Three or four breakfasts are another story.

However, that's the way the two candidates for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District began the final full day of campaigning before the polls open Tuesday.

Incumbent Congressman Mike McIntyre (D) visited three Wilmington breakfast hotspots Monday morning, before taking his campaign bus to his headquarters on Front Street.

McIntyre's bus campaign, dubbed "Mike's Main Street Tour," included visits to Burgaw, Kenansville and Elizabethtown Monday.  As he exited his bus on Front Street, supporters chanted, "I like Mike!"

Inside McIntyre headquarters, about a dozen supporters continued their lofty goal of making 5000 calls today and tomorrow to potential voters.  One woman tells WECT.com that she's supporting McIntyre because he helped her secure benefits after her military husband died due to complications from exposure to Agent Orange in the war.  She said her dog recently had a litter of Yorkie puppies and she named the first one "Mike."

Across town, Ilario Pantano, the Republican nominee, greeted voters Monday morning at eight different restaurants in New Hanover County.  He met and spoke with individual diners along the way.

Pantano then took off for Bolivia in Brunswick County, where he met with Republican supporters at the party headquarters.  He'll wrap up his day with a rally outside his headquarters Monday night at 5:30 pm.

Polls show the race is too close to call at this point.  Monday, the Cook Political Report moved the contest into the "toss up" column from "leans Democrat."  McIntyre is attempting to earn his eighth term in office.  It's a seat held by the Democratic Party since 1899.

McIntyre told WECT.com that he is not taking anything for granted in these final hours, but hopes to be celebrating Tuesday night with family and supporters in Lumberton.

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