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Via the News and Observer’s Under the Dome blog:
Former Congressman Bob Etheridge announced announced this evening that he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
“After considerable thought and a whole lot of encouragement, I am announcing today, my candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor,” Etheridge said.
“My life’s work has been about improving the public education system in North Carolina,” Etheridge said. “As we move forward, we must ensure we are making the key investments in public education, community colleges and the university system.
“This election is about leadership. It’s about moving forward – not moving backward. I will be talking about our future and our commitment to move North Carolina forward. If we want a 21st century economy, we must have 21st century schools.
Since unpopular Governor Bev recently announced she would not be seeking re-election, the local media here has been abuzz with speculation as to who would run in her place – like Etheridge, former WH Chief of Staff under Clinton Erskine Bowles, Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC-7) and Congressman Heath Shuler (NC-11) among them. Bowles declared today he wouldn’t run, which were the words Etheridge was waiting on. Also out of the picture? Shuler:
North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler will not seek reelection in 2012, he announced Thursday.
Shuler, a prominent Blue Dog Democrat and former Washington Redskins quarterback, faced an uphill path to a fourth term after redistricting, which made his western North Carolina-based 11th District seat more conservative.
“This was not an easy decision. However, I am confident that it is the right decision. It is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months,” Shuler said in a statement. “I have always said family comes first, and I never intended to be a career politician. I am ready to refocus my priorities and spend more time at home with my wife Nikol and two young children.”
“I have experienced no greater honor than serving the people of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District over the past five years,” he added. “I am proud of the work that my office has done to give Western North Carolina a voice in Congress and make life better for the people who entrusted me with the privilege of representing them in Washington.”
His departure means that Democrats will struggle to keep the seat. A handful of Republicans, including real estate investor Ethan Wingfield and District Attorney Jeff Hunt, had lined up to challenge Shuler in the new district and will compete in a May primary.
Earlier this week, the Democrat announced that he would not run for governor in 2012. North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue, a Democrat, is not seeking reelection.
Shuler told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday that his next venture would not be in politics.
“I will definitely be in the business world,” he said.
On the flip side, former Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory (R) officially threw his hat into the ring earlier this week. He took on Perdue in 2008 and lost. Current Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (D), a heavy hitter in Democrat National Convention activities and a pal of our celebrity President, announced Tuesday that he would not be seeking the nomination for his party – thus eliminating the possibility of two Charlotte Mayors going head to head in the fall elections.
National politics are on fire right now, and local races are are heating up, too. Fun times ahead, y’all.