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When you’re in a hole, the first rule is: Stop digging. But Beverly Perdue’s campaign is digging a deeper hole every week.

I sound like a broken record about this. But her campaign looks broken.

The News & Observer found that her fundraising report failed to provide the occupations and employers for more than 300 donors, who gave 10 percent of the $3 million she has raised. Absurdly, one of them was a state senator who sits right in front of her during legislative sessions.

The foul-up makes her look either sloppy or shifty. I’m not sure which is worse.

This came on top of the report that, for years, she gave her age as one year older than she really was. Her spokesperson said her husband didn’t want people to know she was older.

Maybe Perdue deserves credit for being one of the few people who say they’re older than they really are.

More likely, it raises questions about trust and credibility.

In 1998, a young staffer on John Edwards’ campaign innocently – but inaccurately – wrote in a bio that Edwards was “a native of North Carolina.” Actually, Edwards was born in South Carolina, and his parents moved here when he was a boy.

For the rest of the campaign, voters in focus groups brought up that one error as a reason not to trust Edwards.

It is maddening for a candidate to see something so small blown up in the media, while they feel that all their accomplishments and great ideas for North Carolina get short shrift.

But that’s politics.

I’ve already heard from one big contributor who is holding back on giving to Perdue, concerned about where all this is going. If it keeps going, the campaign will have fewer donors to identify next time.

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