Sara D. Davis, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, North Carolina Rep, Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., thanks supporters for his re-election during the North Carolina Democratic Party's 2008 Election Night Victory Celebration in Raleigh, N.C. Former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge announced Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 he'll enter the Democratic primary for North Carolina governor, hours after Erskine Bowles decided against it.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Former congressman Bob Etheridge says he's lived the American dream thanks to investments in public education and is running for North Carolina governor to keep those investments going in the 21st century.

Etheridge talked in Raleigh to reporters on Friday, the day after he announced his gubernatorial bid. He joins Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison in the Democratic primary.

Etheridge said he's got a lot to do in advance of a primary that's less than 100 days away but intends to make education a critical plank of his platform. He served as state schools superintendent for eight years before going to Congress in 1997.

Other Democrats are considering whether to get in the race. State Sen. Dan Blue said Friday he's also giving it a look.