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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bev Perdue Won't Seek Re-election! Her Decision Will Help Obama!

Good News for Obama From N.C.: Dem Gov. Declines to Run in ’12

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue will not seek re-election in 2012, a Democratic source confirmed to ABC News.

That decision should improve President Obama’s chances in the state next November, as Perdue is deeply unpopular, and that unpopularity could have hurt the president — and Democrats in general – in North Carolina in 2012.

Perdue will make the announcement this afternoon. The North Carolina Democratic Party would not confirm whether Perdue had declined to run, only that an announcement would be made Thursday.

In April, an Elon University poll showed that Perdue’s approval ratings had sagged behind Obama’s in the state. Perdue’s disapproval rating was 52 percent, while her approval rating was 33 percent.

Obama, meanwhile, enjoyed a 48 percent job-approval rating and a 46 percent disapproval rating in North Carolina. While reliable polls have been hard to come by in North Carolina, since April a string of automated phone surveys have corroborated Perdue’s unpopularity.

Obama carried North Carolina in 2008, 50 percent to 49 percent for Sen. John McCain. Democrats made significant gains in North Carolina in 2006, and, along with Obama’s victory in Virginia in 2008, North Carolina gave the party hope of an expanded electoral map and newfound competitiveness in the South.

Obama’s campaign has said it would focus its efforts again on North Carolina in 2012.

“We put the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in part because we believe so deeply in this map,” campaign manager Jim Messina said in a YouTube fundraising video that laid out Obama’s potential electoral strategyin late December.

Had Perdue remained in office, she could have dampened the campaign efforts of President Obama, who would presumably have campaigned alongside Perdue and shared the stage with her at North Carolina events.

Perdue’s tenure saw a series of bad headlines and political disasters that sullied her image after she won the race to the governor’s mansion in 2008.

In September, she caused a stir by suggesting that the United States suspend its congressional elections for two years. In November, three of her aides were indicted for allegedly violating state election law in a scheme to pay a staff member $32,000 for work that was kept off the books.

This month, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., launched an inquiry into whether Perdue breached government protocol by alluding to new unemployment numbers in a speech before their scheduled release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The top Republican candidate to replace Perdue is Pat McRory, who ran against Perdue and lost in 2008. Democrats do not yet have a leading candidate to step into the race, although Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx appear to be likely contenders.

Bev Perdue will not seek re-election

First-term North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue will not seek re-election, she announced Thursday.

Saddled with low poll ratings, Perdue, a Democrat, was the most endangered incumbent governor of the cycle and faced grim prospects in the fall against Republican Pat McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who is expected to formally launch his bid in the coming weeks.

“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,” Perdue said in a statement.

“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 reelection will only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools.

A reelection campaign in this already divisive environment will make it more difficult to find any bipartisan solutions.”

The announcement resets what’s expected to be a vigorously fought open-seat contest in a state that will host the Democratic National Convention and could be crucial to President Obama’s re-election.

Democrats had been fretting for months about Perdue’s prospects but sources indicated Thursday that the governor came to the decision herself and was not forced out by leaders in Washington or Raleigh.

“She’s a very pragmatic woman. The scenario always was, If the polling didn’t turn around, she’d reconsider,” said a Democratic source close to the process. “She saw the writing on the wall and knew that it would be a very tough year ahead.”
Tough is an understatement.

Recent public polling found Perdue trailing McCrory by 10 points and her approval rating mired in the 30s. She had also been plagued by scandal. In November, three of her former 2008 campaign aides were indicted on obstruction of justice charges following a grand jury investigation that found a staffer was allowed to work off the books.

Her campaign also faced self-inflicted wounds when she suggested in September that congressional elections be suspended for two years, and in May when her son took to Facebook to accuse a McCrory fundraiser of adultery.

Most recently, she issued a picked a fight with the GOP-lead General Assembly through a string of vetoes and proposed a new sales tax to fund education.
Following Perdue’s announcement, which is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, Democrats will swiftly turn to finding a replacement.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and Attorney General Roy Cooper have been floated as potential contenders, but Democrats believe no matter who becomes the nominee they’ll ultimately be in stronger position to hold this critical governorship.

“For the last two years Republicans have made this race about Bev Perdue because that’s all they had. Starting today it’s going to be all about Pat McCrory, a failed mayor, an unsuccessful candidate for governor,”said a Democratic source.

Republicans signaled they won’t allow the eventual candidate to carve out any distance from Perdue.

“As governor, Bev Perdue continues to set the Democrat agenda in Raleigh, which now includes a massive, job-crushing sales tax hike. No matter how hard they try, whoever emerges as the Democratic Party’s successor to Bev Perdue won’t be able to run from the Democrats’ record of higher taxes and disappointing job losses,” said Republican Governors Association Executive Director Phil Cox.

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Sources: ABC News, CNN, Fox News, Politico, WRAL, Youtube, Google Maps

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