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Lottery fails to pass State Senate

RALEIGH – Lady Luck has dealt another losing hand for a lottery in North Carolina.

Working into the early morning hours on Wednesday, the North Carolina State Senate ended their highly publicized debate of this sensitive issue and called for a vote.

With Democrats holding a 29-21 edge in the Senate, most political observers thought that a state-run lottery would finally become reality after nearly two decades of trying. However, it was so close…so far away.

Five defiant Democrats joined forces with the state's 21 Republican senators and shot down the lottery by an official 26-24 vote.

The so-called "Lottery Five" are Charlie Albertson (Beulaville), Dan Clodfelter, (Charlotte), Janet Cowell (Raleigh), Eleanor Kinnaird (Carrboro) and Martin Nesbitt (Asheville).

Local State Senator Robert Holloman, an Ahoskie Democrat, voted in favor of Gov. Mike Easley's Education Lottery, a plan that would hopefully generate $400 million annually for the state's public school system.

Earlier, State House of Representatives members Howard Hunter Jr. (D-Hertford County) and Michael Wray (D-Northampton County) were part of a 61-59 majority in favor of the lottery.

Local legislators said the lottery measure could possibly come-up again when the State House and Senate reconvene next spring for their short session.