Perdue draws mixed reactions

Published 1:06 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Gov. Beverly Perdue met with local officials in the Beaufort County Emergency Operations Center in the wake of Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Perdue announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election this year. (WDN File Photo/Christ Prokos)

Informed that Gov. Beverly Perdue would not run for a second term, state Rep. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, at first said, “Yay.”
Then Cook chose the high road.
“I don’t agree with hardly anything that she’s done, however, I know that being an elected official is a very difficult thing and requires a person to make a commitment that not many people are willing to make,” he said. “For that, I appreciate her service.”
Sen. Stan White, D-Dare, represents Beaufort County in the state Senate.
White has known Perdue for years. She reappointed him to the state Board of Transportation.
Like many other Democrats, he had no idea Perdue was vacating her campaign — until Thursday morning.
“I think she’ll be remembered for her stance on education,” White said. “She’s always been a very, very strong advocate for education. I don’t have any doubt that her legacy, as time goes on, … (will be) her devotion to education.”
Penny Sermons is a Perdue supporter.
Sermons is director of the Beaufort County Community College library. Her husband, Wayland Sermons Jr., was appointed to a Superior Court judgeship by Perdue.
The governor’s news came as a shock to Penny Sermons.
“My reaction to Beverly Perdue’s decision not to run for Governor is surprise and disappointment,” she wrote in an email. “As NC’s first female governor, Beverly Perdue has been an advocate for two things that I care about deeply, education and young children. As chair of the Beaufort Hyde Partnership for Children, I know she has fought for programs designed to help our state’s less fortunate children. As an educator, I applaud her fight to restore funding for teachers, teachers aides, and classrooms for our school children. Her leadership in these areas will be sorely missed.”
Greg Dority, chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, described Perdue as a drag on the Democratic ticket in North Carolina, a state some pundits say may be pivotal to President Barack Obama’s re-election bid.
“This is a good day for the Democratic Party because Gov. Perdue was heading for sure defeat,” Dority said. “If they can generate a strong nominee without a fractious and divisive primary, then they can reverse this dynamic.”
Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, Perdue’s close-running Republican opponent in 2008 and likely this year’s GOP nominee, may be more energized by the incumbent’s plan to step down, Dority indicated.
“I think what it’s going to do is it’s going to put Pat in higher gear quickly,” he said.
Last week, in a conference call with the Washington Daily News and other media, Perdue was asked whether she was concerned that her call for a temporary increase in the state sales tax to fund education would hurt her chances for re-election.
“I’ve left the politics up to you reporters and political pundits throughout my career,” she replied. “I really haven’t worried much about elections and what’s politically popular. I’ve spent my time trying to make the right decisions and move the state forward. … Let me suggest to you that I’ll fight any battle, I’ll stand right in the ditch with anybody and fight my eyes out, as long as the battle involves public education and children’s future.”