Rucho to retire in 2016

State Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, the Senate's key tax-reform architect, will not seek re-election in 2016.

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Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg
Laura Leslie
RALEIGH, N.C. — State Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said Thursday he will not run for re-election in 2016.

Rucho, a dentist from Matthews, has been the main architect of tax reform in the Senate since Republicans took the majority in 2011.

"Everything I went to Raleigh to do, I‘ve gotten done," Rucho told WRAL News. "When you’ve done everything you said you were going to do and you can step away, that’s a victory."

Rucho, 67, has spent 17 years in the state Senate. He served from 1997 to 2004, leaving when he was "double-bunked" – placed in the same district with another lawmaker – in the Democratic redistricting map. He returned in 2008, when now-Congressman Robert Pittenger resigned his seat to run for lieutenant governor, and has served ever since.

"It’s been eight years and then another eight or nine," Rucho said. "It’s time for someone else."

He said he's proud of the work he'd done, rattling off a list of policy initiatives he has backed, from tax cuts and the unemployment system overhaul to voter identification, redistricting and natural gas drilling.

"Promises made and promises delivered," he said. "How many politicians can say that? Not many."

Rucho joins a rapidly growing list of state lawmakers who plan to retire from the General Assembly next year.

Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, has already announced he won't seek re-election. And Sens. Josh Stein, D-Wake, and Buck Newton, R-Nash, are both running for state Attorney General in 2016. Under state law, they cannot also run for re-election to the Senate.

Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, has said he's considering retiring, but hasn't yet made a decision.

House lawmakers who will not seek re-election to their seats next year include:

  • Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake
  • Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston
  • Rep. James Langdon, R-Johnston
  • Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, R- Mecklenburg
  • Rep. Rayne Brown, R-Davidson
  • Rep. Nathan Baskerville, D-Vance
  • Rep. Paul Tine, U-Dare
  • Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover

Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, and Rep. Bryan Holloway, R-Stokes, both resigned their seats in October to take other positions. Brown is working for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, and Holloway will lobby for the North Carolina School Boards Association.

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