Candidates gear up to claim Governor’s seat.
Last week the news waves were hot as word spread that North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue would not be seeking reelection for a second term.
Perdue, who first assumed office in January of 2009, cited that her decision not to run for another term was influenced by the “highly partisan times” and felt that a reelection campaign would only make bipartisan efforts within the state more difficult.
“Like the rest of the nation, North Carolina has been facing difficult economic times — demanding many difficult decisions. I have had to make painful budget cuts in important areas of government. But I believe I have approached this challenge in a way that is consistent with my values and the values that have made our state a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I have spent my tenure in office - and, in fact, my adult lifetime - fighting for things that I care deeply about. And as anyone who knows me will tell you, I do not back down from tough fights,” sad Gov. Perdue. “But I understand this: We live in highly partisan times, where some people seem more worried about scoring political points than working together to address the real challenges our state faces. And it is clear to me that my race for re-election will only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools. A re-election campaign in this already divisive environment will make it more difficult to find any bipartisan solutions.”
Perdue, who served as the 73rd Governor of North Carolina - and the state’s first female governor - quickly established herself as one of the most active and accomplished Lieutenant Governors in North Carolina history. As a former public school teacher with a Ph.D in Education Administration, Perdue made it her personal goal to fight for education throughout the state, a goal she intends to work toward add 57 even after leaving office. “The thing I care about most right now is making sure that our schools and schoolchildren do not continue to be the victims of shortsighted legislative actions and severe budget cuts inflicted by a legislative majority with the wrong priorities,” said Perdue. “Therefore, I am announcing today that I have decided not to seek re-election. I hope this decision will open the door to an honest and bipartisan effort to help our schools.”
Leaders throughout the country, including President Obama, issued statements commending Gov. Perdue on her tenure in office. “As the first woman to serve as North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor and Governor, Bev Perdue has never been afraid to break barriers,” said President Obama. “For over 25 years, she has fought for the people of the Tar Heel State – working to transform the state’s public schools, improve the health care system, protect and attract jobs for members of the military and their families, and create the jobs of the future. Michelle and I want to congratulate Governor Perdue on her historic tenure, and we wish Bev and her family well in the future,” he concluded.
“Governor Perdue deserves the state’s sincere gratitude for her many years of public service,” said Senator Kay Hagan. “During times of extraordinary economic stress and budgetary pressures, she continues to vigorously pursue priorities near and dear to the hearts of generations of North Carolinians, including expanding and improving education at every level and a tireless pursuit of new businesses and jobs for the state. I am especially heartened to hear she will devote her remaining time in office fighting to ensure that the children of North Carolina receive the affordable, quality education mandated by our state constitution,” concluded Hagen
“To those of you who have supported me throughout my years of public service, I will always be grateful for the confidence you have placed in me. In my remaining months in office, I look forward to continuing to fight for the priorities we share, by putting North Carolinians back to work and investing in our children’s future”, said Perdue. “To my children and grandchildren, and especially to my husband Bob, thank you for always being there for me - especially as I’ve weighed this difficult decision. Thank you all, and God bless North Carolina.”
Possible 2012 Governor Candidates
North Carolina’s Gubernatorial race has always been notoriously competitive, and with Gov. Perdue’s surprise announcement, the 2012 election is sure to be another closely contested race this fall. As it stands today, two democratic and two republican candidates have declared they are seeking election in their respective party’s primaries.
Walter Dalton, current N.C. Lieutenant Governor announced that he will be vying for Perdue’s seat in the Democratic primary, as did Bill Faison, who has served in the NC House of Representatives since 2005, representing the 50th House District.
Several potential Democratic candidates have been identified, and with the filing period for the primary being right around the corner (Feb. 13-29), speculation is sure to continue over the next few weeks.
Former UNC System President Erskine Bowles was identified early on as a potential candidate, but has yet to declare or deny his run for office. There was also discussion of the Mayor of Charlotte, Anthony Foxx considering throwing his name into the hat, but he issued a statement late Monday saying he would not be joining the race. Hours after Perdue made her announcement not to seek re-election, reports also surfaced citing that Bryson City native, Congressman Health Shuler (D-11th District) was contemplating a possible run for the governorship. Congressman Shuler announced on Tuesday that he would not be running for Governor in 2012. “It is an honor to even be discussed as a potential candidate for such an esteemed office, but now is not my time,” said Shuler.
Republican candidates have had a little more time to prepare for the primary and presumed Republican nominee frontrunner Pat McCroy had been considering his second run for office ever since narrowly losing to Gov. Perdue in the 2008 election. Douglas Schell, a retired business and economics professor from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has also declared that he attempts to seek the GOP nomination in 2012. Schell describes himself as a “Ron Paul Republican” and is an ally of the Tea Party movement. He first ran for Governor in 2000 as the candidate of the Pat Buchanan’s Reform Party and garnered less than one percent of the vote.
“The Governor’s office plays an important role in resisting those in Raleigh who wish to abandon North Carolina’s wellearned reputation as a state with its eyes firmly and pragmatically on the future,” said Senator Kay Hagan. “Whether the issue is access to the ballot box; a commonsense jobs-creating business climate; robust support for our military and veterans and their families; or the guarantee of a firstrate education, the Governor’s office often provides a critical moderating counterweight to the backward-looking forces of extremism elsewhere in state government. North Carolinians will surely keep this in mind as they choose the next governor in November.”