North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, announced Thursday that she will not seek reelection in 2012, opening the gates for a battle for the state’s governor’s race:
Perdue, who turned 65 earlier this month, was set for a rematch of her 2008 race with former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory (R), but she has been plagued by low approval ratings and faced some tough odds this year.
In a statement released by her campaign, Perdue said she wanted to focus on education reforms rather than an all-comsuming reelection campaign.
“It is clear to me that my race for re-election will only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools,” she said. “A reelection campaign in this already-divisive environment will make it more difficult to find any bipartisan solutions.”
Perdue has struggled recently with reports about campaign finance violations, and some top aides to her 2008 campaign have been indicted . Perdue has not personally been implicated in any wrongdoing.
Names that are likely to be bandied about as possible Democratic replacements include Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, and former congressman Bob Etheridge.
McCrory has announcement that he will formally launch his GOP campaign next week.
Perdue, a Democrat, served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1987 to 1991, and in the North Carolina Senate from 1991 to 2001. In 2000, she became North Carolina’s first female lieutenant governor and won reelection in 2004. Perdue defeated Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican, in the 2008 governor’s race and was sworn in as the first woman governor of North Carolina in January of 2009.
Perdue’s administration and that of her predecessor, Mike Easley, have been tainted by scandal. Easley became the first North Carolina governor to admit to a felony, and Perdue was fined by the state Board of Elections for accepting flights aboard campaign donors’ aircraft. Peter Reichard, the Perdue campaign’s finance director, was charged with obstruction of justice. Reichard also served as Easley’s finance director for his 2000 gubernatorial campaign.