Perdue backs down

Published 12:37 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Something has taken the fight out of Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The governor isn’t known for backing away from a political challenge.

Her record 16 vetoes of Republican-backed legislation proved she could, and would, tangle with her ideological foes.

She vetoed with a free hand, in line with her convictions, despite a probable backlash and odds that her vetoes would be overturned.

Though Perdue’s poll numbers have been stubbornly low, there was no guarantee she couldn’t close the gap between her campaign and that of Republican Pat McCrory.

It seems Perdue, long known as a fighter, has lost some of her willingness to tangle with partisans on the other side of the aisle, not to mention doubtful members of her own party.

In a way, Perdue’s decision to decline a re-election fight is a regrettable one.

Clearly, she emulates former Gov. Jim Hunt’s mantle of “education governor.”

She has been consistent in her support of education, dating to her tenure in the state Legislature more than two decades ago.

But, from our perspective, the ultimate regret in the coming loss of Perdue is not political.

The regrettable element here is that the Old North State’s next governor will, in all likelihood, hail from a central or western population center.

In other words, the east is losing another potential advocate — Perdue is from Craven County — at a time when the Legislature is controlled by “Charlottecentric,” metropolitan interests unlikely to understand the unique challenges of eastern North Carolina.