Raleigh, N.C. — After days of rumors, House Majority Leader Mike Hager publicly confirmed Monday that he is resigning from the legislature, effective Tuesday.
"It is with great trepidation that I announce my resignation to the North Carolina House of Representatives," Hager, R-Rutherford, said in a press release from his legislative office. "After much prayer and consideration, it is time to spend more time with my family and pursue other opportunities."
Hager served three terms in the state House. He was freshman caucus leader in 2011-12, majority whip in the 2013-14 session and majority leader in 2015-16. While he led a sizable faction within the House caucus, he was occasionally at ideological odds with House Speaker Tim Moore, against whom he was said to have considered running for the speakership.
Moore also sent out a statement Monday morning, thanking Hager for his service in "advancing the Republican agenda for the betterment of North Carolinians."
"Serving in the General Assembly requires far greater time and energy than many people ever realize, and we all make sacrifices to be in Raleigh and away from home many nights," Moore said. "Mike and I were friends long before we served in the House together, and even though we will not be colleagues in the House, our friendship will continue. I wish Mike and his family nothing but the best.”
Over his six years in the House, Hager repeatedly tried to freeze or repeal the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard as well as subsidies and credits for alternative energy production. Hager, a former engineer for Duke Energy, argued that the solar energy sector no longer needs state support and should have to compete in the marketplace on its own.
As recently as last week, Hager told WRAL News he was not planning to retire.
Asked whether Hager plans to pursue a career in state government lobbying, as many lawmakers do, his assistant Lindsey Dowling said he does not.
State Republican party chairman Robin Hayes has called a meeting in Hager's district on Wednesday to select his replacement for November's election. The winner will face unaffiliated candidate Ben Edwards.