Cook seeks heat, rallies GOP faithful

Published 12:30 am Thursday, January 12, 2012

State Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, announces his run for Senate as county Commissioners Al Klemm (left) and Hood Richardson listen Wednesday in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

State Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, “officially” announced his run for Senate Wednesday at a Washington restaurant.

“I will defend your point of view,” Cook told rain-specked supporters huddled inside Frank’s Pizza off John Small Avenue.

He revived a call-and-response shout from his 2010 campaign, asking, “What’s my name?”

“Bill Cook!” his audience replied.

Cook, who’s first House campaign slogan was “Cook in the House,” said he pulled out this campaign standby because he’d been told name recognition was an important factor in running for office.

Though he’s well known in Beaufort County, Cook has a lot of work ahead of him as he tries to build name recognition and backing in the seven other counties of state Senate District 1.

But one other obstacle to his ascendancy was removed when

Chocowinity Republican Wayne Langston rose to say he was withdrawing from the Senate contest in favor of Cook.

“I’ve known Bill for a while, and he is a true conservative,” Langston said, tossing in his full endorsement.

It’s unclear whether other GOP candidates might be interested in seeking the seat.

On hand for Cook’s announcement was Pat Patterson, chairman of the Dare County Republican Party. Behind Beaufort County, Dare is the district’s second-largest county, in terms of population.

In his speech, Cook harked back to the extended tenure of Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, who occupied the District 1 seat for many years and gained unrivaled power as president pro tempore of the Senate.

“We’ve had liberal folks in office for at least the last quarter-century,” Cook commented, indicating he intends to be the antithesis of that approach.

Cook was elected to the House in November 2010. In running for Senate, he abandons the House race to an as-yet-unidentified GOP contender.

Sen. Stan White, D-Dare, who is seeking re-election, represents District 1.