Bowles won't run for governor

Posted February 2, 2012

Erskine Bowles

Former University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles will not run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2012.

Bowles announced his decision in a statement this morning.

"I've spent a lot of time trying to think what is the right thing for me to do. I don't think anyone questions my love for North Carolina or my efforts to make our State a better place to live, work , or raise a family. I've done my best in this regard and I plan to continue to do so.

"There are lots of ways to make a difference, lots of ways to add to the community woodpile. I'm excited about helping our State's and Nation's leaders move North Carolina and our Country forward. We've got big challenges and great opportunities. I'm confident if we can get folks to put politics aside, and pull together, not apart, there are no problems we can't solve working together.”

State Democratic leaders sought to recruit Bowles for a run after incumbent Governor Bev Perdue suddenly announced last week she won't seek re-election. A poll released early this week showed Bowles would be the most competitive Democratic contender against the likely Republican nominee Pat McCrory. 

Bowles has an impressive resume, ranging from White House Chief of Staff in the Clinton administration to head of the Small Business Administration, and most recently, co-chairman (with WY Republican Alan Simpson) of President Obama's deficit reduction commission. Party operatives were hopeful that Bowles would bring money and attention from the national party. 

But many wondered from the start whether Bowles would take the bait. He's not fond of campaigning, and previously suffered two bruising statewide losses in Senate races against Elizabeth Dole in 2002 and Richard Burr in 2004. 

There's also the shadow of history to be reckoned with: 40 years ago in 1972, his father, Skipper Bowles, lost the governor's race to Republican Jim Holshouser. It was the first time the state had elected a Republican governor since 1897.

Bowles' announcement clears the way for decisions from several other Democratic hopefuls. Congressmen Brad Miller and Mike McIntyre and former Congressman Bob Etheridge have all expressed interest in a run, as well as state Senator Dan Blue and former Treasurer Richard Moore, who lost the primary to Perdue in 2008. 

Two Democrats have already officially entered the May primary: Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton and state Rep. Bill Faison. 




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  • Rebelyell55 Feb 2, 2012

    I'll agree this ain't good for the Democrates. I'm a little puzzeled at to why, but someone would have to be pretty hard up for a job to take the position. Also, he is already making some good money, why have your life, the things you've done dragged through the mud by polictical wannna be and the other party. The sad part is it takes someone with no moral character and a very thick skin to run for this office. Which should lead anyone to wonder what and why these those running are doing so. I'll tell ya one thing, it ain't for the middle class or the average voters. Register as an independent and vote as an independent and you can make a different now and even more so in the future. Think of the children and their children, the people of NC can't continue to support these parties and their agenda. Let's hope that one day, as the ranks of independent grow, that anyone running for an elected office will have to listen to the voters and what they need, not special interest groups.

  • Nancy Feb 2, 2012

    And ol Bob had that little $100K annual gimme job from Bev to oversee federal stimulus monies for our state, trouble was, it was already dried up but he's still being paid.

    What a hack.

  • gratefultoGOD Feb 2, 2012


  • Plenty Coups Feb 2, 2012

    "lower taxes on everyone, and our test scores would go up significantly. "

    Simple unproven rhetoric.

  • busyb97 Feb 2, 2012


    That's funny! How long till a bumper sticker is made...

    "?RU - I'm the guy who voted against you."

  • jet2rdu Feb 2, 2012

    On February 1, 2011, Governor Bev Perdue announced her appointment of Etheridge as head of the North Carolina Office of Economic Recovery and Investment. After just one Year Bob really showed the taxpayers of NC again how much success he brought to NC in that position.

    What a great recovery!

    Also, Bob Etheridge has a new campaign banner motto for his entry into the NC governor's race that is fresh off the press. It is quite simple to cut down on printing costs.. ?RU

  • dsalter Feb 2, 2012

    I like Mike McIntyre myself.

  • timtooltime777 Feb 2, 2012

    Bowles is a career waste! Not worth the money anyone pays him !

  • jblake1932 Feb 2, 2012

    Yall hear bob ethridge is gonna try it? HE HE HE haw haw haw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gotta love the dems!

  • vraptor Feb 2, 2012

    dropping like flies. the only hope you guys have left is sen hagen. but that would be a step down... :)