RALEIGH, N.C. — Rep. Frank Ballance Jr., D-N.C., decided to withdraw his candidacy for re-election Friday to the 1st District congressional seat, citing health concerns.
Now, after weeks of tension and uncertainty, one of Ballance's longtime friends wants his job.
Superior Court Judge G.K. Butterfield announced Friday that he will run for the 1st District seat.
"At no time did I actually intend to run against the congressman," Butterfield said. "I made that commitment to him and I honored that commitment. It was only last night that I made the final decision to run when he telephoned me at 12:30 this morning to let me know his decision was final."
Joining Butterfield in the wide open 1st District race are four other Democrats -- Snow Hill Mayor Don Davis, businessman Sam Davis, ECU professor Christine Fitch and Darryl Smith, who once managed Butterfield's Supreme Court campaign. On the Republican side security expert Greg Dority and Jerry Williford of Oxford.
Ballance said he made his final decision after feeling weakness in his left leg earlier this week and undergoing testing. He said he will fill out his term and decide on his future at a later date.