Tremors in Lillington? And Etheridge jumps in the Gov race | Citizen
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Tremors in Lillington? And Etheridge jumps in the Gov race

Posted by on Fri, Feb 3, 2012 at 2:41 PM

We discussed yesterday the phenomenon known as the political groundswell — some are earth-shaking, some a mere jostle. Former Congressman Bob Etheridge reports a groundswell for him to run for governor in the Democratic primary. He was at home in Lillington at the time, I believe.

Etheridge joins Walter Dalton and Bill Faison in the race so far — three moderate-to-conservative white male candidates. Former State Treasurer Richard Moore, if he gets in, would make four, and if Congressman Mike McIntyre runs, make it five.

We know that Congressman Brad Miller's feeling the progressive tremors; so is state Sen. Dan Blue, according to this tweet from WRAL:

Just talked to Sen. Dan Blue. He's still interested in #ncgov - says he's weighing pros and cons and will have a decision next week. #ncpol

If both Miller and Blue decide to run — well, you know, two progressive candidates from Raleigh?

Blue said he won't decide until next week. Is he waiting for Miller, whose timetable should have him announcing one way or the other by Sunday?

I spoke with a friend of Dan's last night who said he's thinking very seriously about a gubernatorial run. Blue, a former speaker of the N.C. House, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002, losing the Democratic nomination to Erskine Bowles.

There's strong sentiment in the party that it's time an African-American candidate ran at the top of the state Democratic ticket. Of course, Harvey Gantt was the U.S. Senate nominee in '98 and '04 against Jesse Helms. But the late Ralph Campbell remains the only African-American to serve in a Council of State post — he was State Auditor — and his office was well down the ballot.

Former state Rep. Linda Coleman, D-Wake, is already in the lieutenant governor's race; if elected, she'd be the first black woman in a Council of State position. Whether Blue would be interested in lieutenant governor, I don't know. It's not much of a position unless a Republican is elected governor — then the light-gov could be top Democratic official in the state (note: unless the ground really shakes, the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem will still be Republicans after this year's elections).

In that circumstance, Blue would be tremendously influential and odds-on for the gubernatorial nomination in 2016. But then, if the Democratic candidate for governor loses this year, what are the chances Blue or any other Democrat could be elected lieutenant governor?

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