Bill Faison announces run for governor
Posted January 28, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina state House member Bill Faison has formally entered the race for governor, two days after Gov. Bev Perdue said she wouldn't seek a second term.
Faison made his announcement at the Democratic meeting in Greensboro Saturday. The four-term state representative from Orange County was surrounded by his children as he addressed reporters.
"I am here to provide the leadership you need to put our economy back on track, put folks back to work, and secure our kids education and future," Faison said. "We are in an economic crisis. Working together, using good common sense and practical solutions, we can fix this."
Faison, who predicted last fall Perdue would not seek a second term, has been traveling around the state for months. "Folks came to me wanting me to run for governor," he said.
"I've heard the request to step up," said Faison. "And to the calls to me to lead this great state, I say yes."
In his announcement, Faison touted his plan to raise the sales tax and use the proceeds for job creation. He also said all high school students should be given "a laptop, or an iPad, or some computer based item” that they can take home, where he says they should have free broadband. "If we’re going to have an internet economy, then we need to acknowledge that."
Faison told reporters he had not discussed his run with Democrats at the national level. He also said he could improve bipartisanship in Raleigh, saying he had worked well with Republicans in the House before the current session, which he blasted as being dominated by "the radical social agenda of a few."
A December survey by Democrat-affiliated Public Policy Polling found Faison facing an uphill climb to win his party's nomination. Only about a quarter of voters surveyed recognized his name, and only 5% had a favorable opinion of him, compared to 22% unfavorable. But Faison predicted new poll numbers coming out later this month would be significantly improved.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton already has announced a bid for governor, setting up a May 8 primary.
At least a half-dozen other Democrats have said publicly they're considering the idea. If no one gets more than 40 percent of the vote in the May 8 primary, the top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff in late June.
"It's wide open. That's the way it's perceived," said David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh.
Here's a quick look at other Democrats who have said they're considering a run:
RICHARD MOORE: The 51-year-old former state treasurer has won statewide office twice and can provide some self-financing to his campaign. But he lost badly to Perdue in the 2008 Democratic gubernatorial primary in which some criticized his tactics. He has been keeping a low profile in state Democratic politics ever since.
FOXX: The Charlotte mayor is a fresh face in state politics, has won convincingly in a city that McCrory needs to do well in order to win and has close connections to President Barack Obama. Foxx, who is black, also could help bring out the Democratic vote in the general election. But it might be the wrong time for Foxx to take on such a bid when the Democratic National Convention comes to Charlotte in September.
BOB ETHERIDGE: The former seven-term congressman from Harnett County could re-assemble a statewide network that got him elected state schools superintendent twice. His age (70) and his 2010 congressional defeat — assisted by a viral video showing him grabbing a man who was taping him on a Washington street — could raise questions about electability.
MIKE MCINTYRE AND BRAD MILLER: Both are Democratic incumbents in Congress whose re-election bids have been harmed by redistricting. McIntyre would attract conservative Democrats while Miller would get help from liberal enclaves. But they'd have to persuade voters that running for governor isn't a consolation prize. U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler also fits in this category.
ALLEN JOINES: The Winston-Salem mayor would seem a long shot but has been involved in statewide politics and has ties to Perdue.
WILDCARD: Bowles is a former U.S. Senate candidate, White House chief of staff and president of the University of North Carolina system who is being urged by many Democrats to get into the race but has said nothing publicly. He's received bipartisan praise as UNC president and leading a bipartisan commission that studied the federal debt. He knows how to run statewide but lost in 2002 and 2004 and has eschewed other political bids.