01/26/12 — Gov. Perdue expected to announce she will not seek re-election

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Gov. Perdue expected to announce she will not seek re-election

By From Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on January 26, 2012 1:46 PM

RALEIGH-- Local Democratic and Republican leaders reacted this morning with surprise upon learning that North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue will not seek re-election and wondered how the decision will color this year's election.

Perdue was expected to make a formal announcement later today, according to a Democratic official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the governor's decision.

Wayne County Democratic Party Chairman Stephanie Kornegay of Mount Olive learned of the news through a text message from a friend.

"I think very highly of her," she said. "I think she has been trying to do a good job during a difficult time. I will be disappointed if she is stepping down."

Likewise, Phil Baddour Jr., former House Democratic leader representing the state's 11th district, said he respected Perdue's decision, but was nonetheless saddened by the news.

"My initial reaction is I'm very disappointed," he said this morning when informed of reports she won't seek re-election. "She's been a terrific governor. She's done a good job for this state. I'm very supportive of her."

Ms. Kornegay said she needed to learn more about the announcement before she would feel comfortable making additional comments.

Rep. Efton Sager (R-Wayne) said he was somewhat surprised by the news.

"Rep. Bill Faison of Orange County has been hinting that he might run if she didn't," Sager said. "I thought she might run. I think she would have been an easier candidate to defeat than (Lt. Gov.) Walter Dalton.

"I have talked with people in Raleigh who said Erskine Bowles might run. They would be a tougher challenge than her."

Regardless of who runs, Sager said he thinks that former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory will be a good candidate for Republicans.

The first woman elected governor in North Carolina history, Perdue faced a potential rematch against McCrory, whom she narrowly defeated in 2008 in the state's closest gubernatorial contest since 1972. Perdue's win was partly attributed to Barack Obama's surprise win in North Carolina.

News of Perdue's decision came as North Carolina Democratic Rep. Brad Miller said he also would not seek re-election, avoiding a potential primary contest against fellow Democrat David Price after the Republican-controlled Legislature drew them into the same district.

North Carolina is considered an important state for Obama's re-election prospects and Democrats decided to hold the party convention in Charlotte in September.

Perdue has struggled with a state economy hit hard by the recession and an unemployment rate persistently above the national average. Polling conducted throughout her term has consistently shown her approval ratings hovering around 40 percent.

The first-term governor has clashed with the new Republican leadership in the General Assembly, which swept into power after the 2010 elections and gave GOP control of the Legislature for the first time since the 1870s. Perdue has traded jabs with Republican leaders on issues ranging from jobless benefits to a measure allowing death row inmates to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their convictions. In a sign of the tension, she vetoed a record 16 bills last year.