Congressman Brad Miller
Governor Beverly Perdue
NC Governor Beverly Perdue and Congressman Brad Miller announced Thursday they will not seek re-election in the fall. The announcements underscore the changing landscape of NC politics in the wake of redistricting, and the political realities of a high unemployment rate and sluggish economy in NC.
Miller, who has served as the 13th District Congressional Representative since 2002, faced a primary against longtime Democratic Congressman David Price. In an Associated Press story published on the WRAL-TV web site, Miller acknowledged he would be the underdog in the primary battle.
“Because David has represented Wake County and I have represented none of Orange or Durham, I would be the underdog,” Miller said in the AP story. “I have begun campaigns in the past as the underdog, and campaigned with great energy, enthusiasm and joy. There would be no joy in this campaign,” Miller said of the prospect of running against a political ally.
The potential primary matchup came after Miller and Price were drawn into the same Congressional district in the wake of the Republican takeover of the General Assembly last year. Last week, a three-judge panel declined to postpone the NC primary from May until July while legal challenges to the newly-drawn districts work their way through the courts.
Miller currently serves on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and has been a forceful advocate for consumer-friendly banking laws and regulations throughout his career. He was a key proponent for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has fought predatory lending practices throughout his Congressional career.
Price praised Miller's legacy in Congress in a statement released Thursday morning. “North Carolinians deserve members of Congress who fight for what is right, and Brad Miller has been fighting for what is right for the last decade," Price said, He added that, "it has been a privilege to fight alongside him for working people and for President Obama's agenda. I know Brad will continue to shape these issues, whatever he chooses to do next, and I wish him well.”
While Miller's prospects for re-election dimmed in the wake of redistricting, Perdue's decision seems rooted in flagging approval ratings and a sluggish NC economy. Since taking office in 2009, the NC unemployment rate has been near or above 10%. The governor's recent job approval ratings held consistently in the 30s, which political experts take as a bad omen in election season.
Perdue's 2008 campaign agenda of improving the state's education system was also undermined by the economy and a budget-conscious NC General Assembly, which Republicans assumed control of last year. The Perdue Administration fought over education and many other issues with the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2011. Perdue acknowledged both realities in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
"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. "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."
One of Perdue's brighter moments involved credit unions. The Governor signed the Save to Win bill into law last summer, which will allow credit unions to roll out a prize based savings campaign later this year. Save to Win will encourage North Carolinians of modest means to develop a regular habit of saving money.
There is no official word as to who on the Democratic side will compete in the May primary. Former Charlotte Mayor and 2008 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Pat McCrory is widely expected to announce he is running again this year.