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NC candidates spar over releasing tax records

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A Democratic candidate for North Carolina governor says he won't release his tax returns even though primary rival Bob Etheridge released his financial records as he officially filed to seek the state's top job.

State Rep. Bill Faison said Wednesday he doesn't plan to discuss his returns even as a third leading Democratic candidate - Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton - said that he would after Etheridge invited them to do so.

Faison said he won't release tax records save for W-2 income statements associated with his legislative work because his income is associated with small businesses that involve other people.

Leading Republican candidate Pat McCrory re-affirmed Wednesday that he won't release returns because he considers them private records.

Attorney General Roy Cooper has a clear ride to another four years as North Carolina's top law enforcement job after no one filed to run against the Democrat.

The State Board of Elections reports on its web site that only Cooper turned in candidacy papers for attorney general by the filing deadline at noon Wednesday. Barring an unlikely bid by an independent candidate, Cooper will be elected to a fourth four-year term.

The former state legislator from Rocky Mount faces no opposition despite negative publicity in 2010 about past shortcomings at state crime lab involving the testing of blood evidence. Cooper has otherwise been a popular statewide candidate who has been mentioned frequently as a future candidate for governor or U.S. Senate.

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