Perdue labeled one of country's most vulnerable incumbents

Posted January 18, 2012

Gov. Bev Perdue could see a challenge for the governor's mansion in May.

— National media outlets have labeled Gov. Bev Perdue one of the country's most vulnerable incumbents in the 2012 elections, and her poll numbers, which have been down for months, reflect that possibility.

A possible primary challenger for Perdue is Democratic state Rep. Bill Faison, who has been cagey about his election plans. However, his statewide appearances and recent $500,000 loan to his own campaign have left some wondering if he'll challenge Perdue.

If he does, it will mark the first time a sitting North Carolina governor has faced a primary since 1980, according to North Carolina State University professor Steve Greene.

"It's a sign that you've got a weak incumbent when you get a primary for president, governor, senator, whatever. It's not a good thing for that incumbent," Green said.

That's not the only sign. New numbers from Democrat-affiliated Public Policy Polling put Perdue 11 points behind Republican challenger Pat McCrory. At this point in 2008, she led McCrory by two points. PPP also reported that one in four Democrats said they'll vote for McCrory.

Polls: Perdue is vulnerable Polls: Perdue is vulnerable

Perdue's approval numbers are down, too, at just 50 percent in her own party. Green says some of that is probably the economy.

"This is the exact type of scenario where you do see primary challengers – whether it's president, governor, senator – when times are bad and people are unhappy," he said.

Democrat Debra McHenry isn't calling for a primary, but she said she likes Faison's message on jobs and schools.

"I think that we need to be having a plan on the table and to be talking about these issues," she said.

Progressive blogger James Protzman, who founded the state’s best known Democratic blog, BlueNC.com, said a primary might help defeat the marriage amendment in May.

"The marriage discrimination amendment is a huge, giant and terrible thing, and I don’t want to see that pass. So, if we have to have a primary to stop it, I’m OK with that," he said. 

Protzman says he isn't surprised by Perdue's poor poll numbers.

"I think people are upset with her in lots of ways. I’m upset with her. I’m upset with her on the death penalty, for example. But you can’t be a single issue voter on this stuff. You have to go with the net/net. And the net/net is that she’s good on the issues that I care mostly about," he said.

State Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley said he isn't worried about Perdue's poll numbers or her fundraising, and he doesn't think she'll face a primary.

"What that tells me is that the governor's not campaigning yet. What that tells me is she's focused on governing," he said. "As soon as we start full-fledged campaign mode, I think Democrats come home, I think swing and independent voters pay attention, and I think Pat McCrory's going to have his hands full."

Perdue's campaign declined to comment.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • kj90 Jan 26, 2012

    Dr.Perdue focused on job creation for North Carolina. Republicans want to wreck our state by focusing on bogus social issues and flawed values. There is no room for republicans here, that is what South Carolina is for.

  • gingerlynn Jan 20, 2012

    Run Bill Run!

  • barbstillkickin Jan 20, 2012

    Ok I will run for election. I am 54 disabled and a common woman with no money. I will take on the politicians and put this state back to the people so write me in on your election ballet. Name is Barbara Cornett. I can not afford to run all over the state to talk but I can assure everyone that if I was governor my pay would be first to drop. I would take all that money I am not use to anyway and give it back to the people of this state. We need to be one as a state not you against me. The other thing I would fight tooth and nail for is to cut all politicians pay so this state can come alive again and the people will be taken care of first and for most. Not just Teachers but all of NC citizens.

  • Prep4Life Jan 20, 2012

    The problem here is... we don't need either Bev or Pat as governor... Personally, I think we need Joe the plumber... and NO... no some bone head developer... you know the one... who didn't win the primary last election. Yea... him. Anyway, we need one of "The People" and not some rich wannabe...

  • finwearer Jan 19, 2012

    ...and there's NO WAY I would vote for Bev-bev!!

  • connieleigh4 Jan 19, 2012

    she is absolutely gone this November! She is in my opinion the worst Gov we have ever had next to mike easley!

  • gunny462 Jan 19, 2012

    Bev was given a tough row to hoe, right from the start. Previous governor of the same party was a slime-bag. Entire domestic economy in a shambles due to the other party's actions"

    Well, there's your problem, you talk about the blame game and can't even get it right. 5 years now the dems have been in control and haven't done anything but spend money.

    "Unfortunately... Somehow, people thought the Dems could perform a miracle economic resurrection with the Reps nipping at their heels at every attempt to turn things around"

    There you go again! How can they do anything when all they want to do is spend money on friends? Turn around how? even the 2 top NC economists have stated that to turn it around obamacare has to go, military spending has to be cut (it has), entitlements have to go (yea, dems love that one) and drastically lower our national debt.

    This entire country has devolved into a political family feud that will bring us all down in time.
    Capt Mercury

  • lec0257 Jan 19, 2012

    Da! It didn't take a rocket sicentist to see that one coming.

  • wildpig777 Jan 19, 2012

    if Bev had her way she'd suspend elections-- and yall think i'm kiddin doncha? Tarheels better wake up an realise who's ran this state since 1888, but before you repubs strat crowing-- joe taxpayer is very aware of what yall been doing to us the last 3 yrs--and from the folks i'm talkin to JOE TARHEEL TAXPAYER IS DISGUSTED WITH BOTH PARTIES. Now i know thats hard for you card carrying certified registered repubs and demos-- but it's the truth. who said that? i said that i'm WILDPIG and I always tell it to you straight.

  • aquamarine46 Jan 19, 2012

    Take Bama with you!!!!!