A New Ball Game At the State Level
J im Heim, Moore's Democratic chairman, said he was "crushed" at Gov. Beverly Perdue's surprise announcement of Thursday. Other reactions were less emotional.
But almost everyone was caught off balance by the governor's decision not to seek re-election - especially coming so near the filing deadline. Perdue is the first governor not to run for a second term in the years since it became possible to do so.
Ironically, though, the one person who might stand to be impacted the hardest by the governor's action is the one who has been spending his every waking moment defining himself as her Republican opponent: Pat McCrory.
At first blush, one might expect the former Charlotte mayor to be jumping up and down with glee at the removal of this major obstacle to his ambitions. But it might turn out to be a case of getting what you might have wished for.
A Vastly Changed Landscape
We think Perdue has done a good job since winning election as North Carolina's first-ever female governor in 2008 - despite having inherited the most disastrous economic situation in more than half a century. She has gone up against powerful forces while championing education and the cause of the poor and powerless.
As we wrote a few issues ago, we admired the courage she displayed in calling for a restoration of the sales tax increase that the GOP-controlled General Assembly had allowed to lapse, to the severe detriment of the state's schools and colleges. (Of course, her bravery looked a little less dramatic after it became evident that she wouldn't be sticking around to see her cause through to victory.)
But the simple fact, as Heim and other Democratic loyalists across the state surely have to acknowledge if only in private, is that Perdue was probably not the strongest candidate to put up for the governor's job in the vastly changed circumstances that now prevail.
The Field Opens Up
Despite the warm personal esteem in which many hold Perdue, her approval ratings and fundraising success have sagged. She is not known as an overwhelmingly effective stump speaker. The factor that some think put her over the top in 2008, President Obama's coattails, might not prove so helpful this time around. Recent polls have shown McCrory with a double-digit lead.
The governor's reasons for pulling the plug so abruptly may never be fully known. At some level, there can be little doubt that she has simply grown weary of the thankless struggle. Or maybe she simply saw the handwriting on the wall and chose not to put so much personal energy into what looked like a losing battle.
Or maybe she put party first and realized that a fresh face might have a better chance of keeping the governorship in the Donkey column.
Several prominent names have been mentioned as possible candidates to step into the breach. Near the head of the roster of possibilities is Erskine Bowles, onetime White House chief of staff and former president of the UNC system. Then there's Congressman Brad Miller - who, having just decided not to seek re-election because of the effects of redistricting, must surely be intrigued at this new possibility. The list goes on.
In any case, it's a whole new ball game - whose outcome now seems anything but predetermined.
More like this story