Helms endorses Cobey

Staff WriterJuly 31, 2003 

Bill Cobey received a lift in his nascent bid for the GOP primary for governor this week, when he was endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

In a letter dated July 28 , Helms calls Cobey "an honorable, capable and vigorous leader" who has the best chance of defeating Democratic Gov. Mike Easley next year.

"It is not my intent merely to endorse Bill Cobey for governor," Helms wrote. "It is my intent to do whatever I can to support and recommend [Cobey] for election by the good people of our state."

Helms said his endorsement was not meant as "a disparagement of anybody else in any way."

During his 30-year Senate career, Helms made it a practice not to become involved in GOP primaries.

But since retiring in January, Helms has endorsed U.S. Rep. Richard Burr of Winston-Salem for next year's Senate race.

Cobey is a Helms' protege and both have strong ties to Christian conservatives.

Helms' now defunct political organization, the National Congressional Club, recruited Cobey into politics in 1980 to run for lieutenant governor and then backed him in his three congressional races.

Cobey resigned last week as chairman of the state Republican Party to enter the crowded GOP primary field.

Other Republican candidates running are state Sen. Patrick Ballantine of Wilmington, Davie County commissioner Dan Barrett, Southern Pines insurance agent George Little, and former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot.

Chicken a la Easley

Even if not everyone can be governor, you can still eat like a governor.

When the nation's governors were asked to submit favorite recipes for a cookbook, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley bypassed the politically safe decision of barbecue and instead went with North Carolina stuffed chicken breast.

The cookbook, compiled by the A&W root beer company, was just published and features recipes from the states' chief executives.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford submitted shrimp and collard greens gumbo and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner sent in Virginia crab cakes.

The chicken breast dish is prepared by Steve Moravick , the chef at the Executive Mansion.

Easley describes it as "down home comfort food," said Cari Boyce, the governor's communications director.

The recipe calls for:

* Placing a chicken breast skin-side down between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound the chicken to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or the bottom side of a heavy saucepan.

* Season with salt and pepper.

* Set aside; cook breakfast sausage in skillet until fully cooked , crumble and chill.

* Saute diced vegetables and fruits over medium/high heat until soft. Add herbs, cheese, bread crumbs, raisins and walnuts.

* Cool mixture. Place chilled sausage and sauteed mixture in a mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

* Add heavy cream until mixture is stuffing consistency. Divide stuffing evenly .

* Start with the narrow end of breast and roll up, placing seam-side down on an oiled baking sheet.

* Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

* Cover. Let rest for five minutes.

Staff writer Rob Christensen can be reached at 829-4532 or robs@newsobserver.com.

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