Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley filed organizational papers Tuesday to run for lieutenant governor in 2012.
Reached by phone, Gurley joked that it’s the worst-kept secret (or maybe the second-worst) in the state GOP. “I’ve been to maybe 15 county conventions already this month,” campaigning for the job, he said. “I’m just putting it on paper now.”
Gurley’s term on the Wake County Board of Commissioners expires in November 2014. He says he won’t step down from the board during his campaign, though he would obviously have to if he wins another office.
So why is Gurley running this year? “I think that right now, we have a perfect opportunity to right-size our government. The state has grown too big, is spending too much money, and with the Republican majority in the state House and Senate, you’re gonna see over a correction of the mistakes of the past. I’d like to help as a Republican Lieutenant Governor, presiding over the Republican Senate.”
Gurley’s sure the Senate will be under Republican control next session. “I’m extremely confident that when people see how well the current legislature performs, they’re going to win by an even greater margin in 2012 than in 2010.”
If you’re going to throw your hat in the ring, I asked him, why not aim for the top job?
“There’s at least one highly qualified candidate for governor on the Republican ticket that is better qualified than me,” Gurley said. “And I would not challenge Pat McCrory for that position.”
McCrory hasn't yet officially announced his candidacy for 2012, but he's widely expected to do so in the near future. Gurley thinks the former Charlotte mayor “will make an excellent governor.”
“He’s from Charlotte, I’m from Wake County. He’s city government, I’m county government,” Gurley said. “I would love to be in a position to complement his leadership.”
Gurley was quick to add that he expects a GOP primary. “There’s normally 4 or 5 people running each time for lieutenant governor.” But he says he has a lot of support from the folks who’ve been behind his county commission career. “I wouldn’t commit the next year and a half to it if I didn’t think I could win.”