Bev Perdue, North Carolina governor, won’t seek reelection

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue stunned colleagues and opponents today by announcing she will not run for a second term in office.

According to the Associated Press:

Perdue, the state's first woman governor, rode into office partly on the coattails of Obama's surprise 2008 victory in North Carolina. Her departure created a wide-open gubernatorial primary in a state that is so key to Obama, Democrats are hosting their national convention in Charlotte in September.

Perdue, 65, said the contentious political climate in Raleigh, which has made it difficult to accomplish goals like improving education, contributed to her decision to pass up a second term, the (Durham) Herald-Sun reported.

“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,” Perdue said in a statement, according to the Herald-Sun. “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 also faced a tough fight against former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican she defeated by a slim margin in 2008, the AP reported. According to a poll this month by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling firm, 51 percent of voters disapproved of her performance and just 32 percent liked the job she was doing, Reuters reported.

Her popularity has been dinged in recent months by the indictments of four 2008 campaign aides following allegations that the campaign failed to report dozens of donated flights to state election officials, the AP reported.

"I don't think she could see a path to victory," Joe Sinsheimer, a Democratic political strategist based in Raleigh, told Reuters. "With her ethics problems, she was going to be a political piñata."

“Having an incumbent governor of his party seeking re-election would ordinarily be an advantage to the president, but Gov. Perdue has been weakened by campaign finance scandals and might have been a drag on Obama,” Kerry Haynie, a professor of political science at Duke University, told the Herald-Sun. “My guess is that Perdue came to this decision with the urging of some national Democratic Party insiders.”

Possible Democratic candidates for Perdue’s job include state Rep. Bill Faison, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, Reuters reported.

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