North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, who faced tough odds for re-election, announced she won’t seek a second term and said she hopes the decision will clear partisan barriers that would otherwise imperil her education agenda.
The Democrat’s decision was considered a surprise, despite polls showing her facing an uphill battle in her re-election bid against likely Republican opponents, such as former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.
“We live in highly partisan times, where some people seem more worried about scoring political points than working together to address the real challenges our state faces,” Perdue said in a statement.
“And it is clear to me that my race for re-election will only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools. A re-election campaign in this already divisive environment will make it more difficult to find any bipartisan solutions.”
The governor has battled during her first term with Republicans, who control the state’s legislature, over school spending, one of many similar fights that have played out in statehouses across the country in recent years.
Her statement pointed to “shortsighted legislative actions and severe budget cuts inflicted by a legislative majority with the wrong priorities.” She said she hoped her decision would defuse hyper-partisan divides and “open the door to an honest and bipartisan effort to help our schools.”
President Obama, who won North Carolina in his 2008 election, issued a statement crediting Perdue for her work on education issues, saying she helped “transform the state’s public schools, improve the health care system, protect and attract jobs for members of the military and their families, and create the jobs of the future.”
The North Carolina Republican party viewed Perdue’s tenure differently, saying the governor’s agenda was unpopular among the public, and unwise.
“Governor Perdue’s decision today is not shocking,” state GOP chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement. “Perdue’s economic agenda was defined by her desire to raise taxes on all North Carolinians.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.