Local Politics

Perdue Launches Gubernatorial Campaign

Posted October 1, 2007

— Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue is officially in the race to be North Carolina's next governor.

Perdue announced her candidacy Monday evening in her hometown of New Bern, the coastal city she represented in the state Legislature for six years.

If elected, she would be North Carolina's first female chief executive. To make history, however, she'll have to first beat out State Treasurer Richard Moore in what's expected to become a bruising Democratic primary campaign in which both candidate will spend millions of dollars.

"Democrats are very worried that this race could get very ugly," said Rob Christensen, a political columnist for The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

The winner will likely emerge from the May 6 primary election as the favorite to replace Gov. Mike Easley in a state where Republicans haven't won a gubernatorial race since 1988. Easley is barred by law from running for a third consecutive term.

But analysts note that the state's last two Republican governors – Jim Holshouser in 1972 and Jim Martin in 1984 – won after bloody and divisive Democratic primaries.

"There's always a concern out there when you have two very strong candidates running against each other in the primary that they hurt each other before they move forward in the fall," Democratic political consultant Morgan Jackson said.

Perdue, 60, has focused on eventually moving into the Executive Mansion since she was elected the state's first female lieutenant governor in 2000.

Having raised at least $4 million for her campaign since 2005, Perdue hired consultants and used opportunities granted to the state's No. 2 executive to expand on her General Assembly record. She has led a fund that receives tobacco settlement money to fight teen smoking and shepherded North Carolina's lobbying effort during the most recent round of military base-closings.

Her 13-year career in the General Assembly, half spent as one of the Senate's chief budget-writers, covered almost every aspect of spending within state government. As presiding officer of the Senate as lieutenant governor, she even cast the tie-breaking vote in 2005 that helped create the state lottery.

But her insider history in state government will give Moore, who trailed Perdue by 8 percentage points in an Elon University poll released Friday – 38 percent of likely Democratic voters remain undecided – plenty of material with which to question her voting record.

Moore's campaign has targeted her views on education and abortion, suggesting Perdue has finessed her record over the years to please constituents. Perdue and her campaign have largely dismissed the accusations and called Moore's aggressive stance a sign of early desperation.

"Obviously, some of their issues they've dealt with in the background are similar. You see sometimes the personality distinctions come out early on," Jackson said.

As a former geriatric services director at Craven Regional Medical Center, Perdue is expected to make health care one of her leading issues. Also a former schoolteacher, she received the endorsement of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which historically is a major player in state Democratic politics.

Although lieutenant governor is viewed as a stepping stone to governor, only two of the previous seven lieutenant governors have won the higher office. The education association's endorsement of Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker in 2000 did not help as then-attorney general Easley trounced Wicker in the primary by 23 percentage points.

On the other side, poll numbers show support among Republicans is split among three gubernatorial candidates – Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and state Sen. Fred Smith.


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  • taylor boy Oct 2, 2007

    I still have reservations about a woman running for Gov. I can't believe she's a Lt Gov!

  • motorfinga Oct 1, 2007


  • No Quarter Oct 1, 2007

    As long we don't get the Bush apologist and sycophant, Mrs. Elizabeth Dole, or another good ol' boy redneck like Jesse Helms, I think we'll do just fine. Hopefully times are a changin' in NC.

  • USN Vet Oct 1, 2007

    I make it a habit of not voting for women and I definitely would not vote for a democrat. Many American women are too pushy and bossy. Many seem to think they know everything. Democrats support an immoral political platform, which portrays itself as supporting the family, but in reality supports lifestyles that weaken it.

  • Gandalf The White Oct 1, 2007

    “Taking food off of their children's plates. Plunking money down on a lottery ticket instead of paying their light bill.’

    If they are stupid enough not to understand the odds of winning then chances are they don’t understand how to read their light bill either. Also if they are taking food off their children’s plate to buy lottery tickets then there are more problems in that household then just the lottery. Poverty and ignorance were there long before the lottery ever came about so don’t use that as an excuse for the substandard life they choose to live

  • Bruce Wayne Oct 1, 2007

    "As long as the eastern part of this state depends on revenue redistribution in order to survive, you will not be seeing many Republicans elected to state office here."

    I wish it were not true... but you are correct. Hence, the parent comment.

  • miketroll3572 Oct 1, 2007

    You think I would vote for another Dem after seeing how Sleasly has ROBBED us blind, I am tired of driving on crumy roads and watching them blow money on things most of us will never see. You people that want to vote for her need to WAKE UP.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 1, 2007

    She is in favor of the same old school garbage. So if you want a continuation of the failing system as we have now, be sure to vote for this candidate.

  • skeeter Oct 1, 2007

    As a retired state employee, we do not need Pretty Boy Moore as our Governor. He wants to invest state employees money with big Wall Street investors so they will contribute to his campaign. He is only looking out for himself. Beverly Perdue is a fine lady and if you do not know much about her, I suggest you find out. Most of the State Treasurers did not use this elected position as a stepping stone to higher office as Moore has, they stayed in office trying to do good for this state.

  • wjcspanteach Oct 1, 2007

    And please pardon the few typos -- trying to type here, grade papers, and write a college recommendation all at once.