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I went to the county Republican Party’s Central Committee meeting last night to see if they’d let me watch their discussion of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ endorsement in light of his recently announced support of same-sex marriage.

(They didn’t, but I did see Sanders holed up in a room adjacent to the hotel ballroom where the meeting took place, surrounded by several members of his staff.)

While I was there, I noticed several candidates in the upcoming 2008 elections.

One person I didn’t expect to see was Dan Coffey, who was making the rounds with the Republican activists in the room. Coffey is a Democrat, but he was apparently trying to make inroads with some of the GOP faithful, who have started to rally around the ouster of City Attorney Mike Aguirre in next year’s race.

One case of the Republicans’ sloganeering against Aguirre that I’ve noticed in recent weeks is party chairman Tony Krvaric’s regular nickname for the city attorney: “Mike Nifong Aguirre.” Nifong was the North Carolina prosecutor who was widely criticized for politicizing the Duke lacrosse case. Expect to see more of that nickname in coming campaign literature.

Besides Aguirre and Coffey, only Deputy District Attorney William Gentry, a Republican, has filed to run for city attorney.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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