Gov. confirms candidacy for ’12 re-election

<img src= " Gov. Perdue-HS/Perdue.jpg" class= "float-image-left" alt= "Bev Perdue"/

Despite numerous challenges facing her campaign, Gov. Bev Perdue has confirmed that she is running for re-election in 2012.

Perdue’s current approval rate across North Carolina is 32 percent according to a Nov. 1 poll taken by Public Policy Polling. The low approval ratings coupled with a current criminal investigation of her 2008 campaign may make it hard for her to win over the largely Republican-leaning state.

According to The (Raleigh) News & Observer, numerous contributors to Perdue’s 2008 campaign were recently issued subpoenas for allegedly providing Perdue with unreported private flights despite reaching the state’s $4,000-per-cycle donation limit. Perdue, however, was not issued a subpoena and said in a statement that despite the claims, she has “tried [her] best to abide by all applicable laws, and [her] administration has been one of the most open in history.”

In spite of the upcoming challenges the campaign may face, Marc Farinella, Perdue’s 2012 campaign spokesperson, said Perdue has always intended to run for re-election. In preparation for the political race, Farinella wrote in an e-mail that Perdue is currently directing her efforts toward improving government transparency as well as increasing jobs in the private sector and strengthening North Carolina school systems.

“She is focusing on... changing the way state government does business by increasing transparency as well as by passing the strongest ethics bill that has ever been proposed—which she did last session,” he wrote. “She is also going to propose a massive reorganization of state government designed to make government more efficient, curtail spending and deal with the new fiscal realities confronting the state. All of these will be important elements of her election campaign.”

But Perdue’s performance as governor is not necessarily the only factor in her campaign success and approval rating. According to Pope McCorkle, an adjunct professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy and former political consultant for Perdue, the governor’s job approval ratings are “normally” low and still have a strong chance of increasing as the election race develops.

“There are a number of people on the Democratic side who are not giving her high job approval rates which is not exactly surprising... but once you get a Republican opponent in, numbers can and do change,” McCorkle explained. “Her job approval numbers are not high, certainly, but they are still within the realm of her being able to win. Especially given that a lot of that job approval is coming from people who ultimately will vote for her against a Republican.”

McCorkle said a portion of Perdue’s potential success may depend on President Barack Obama’s popularity during the 2012 election. Indeed, according to the November poll, 57 percent of those who demonstrated approval for Perdue had also voted for Obama in the 2008 election. McCorkle added that he believed blacks would contribute greatly to Perdue’s campaign. In the November poll, 52 percent of participants who approved of Perdue were black, while 33 percent identified themselves as “other” and 26 percent said they were white.

Perdue’s potential victory would be the fifth consecutive Democratic win in an N.C. gubernatorial election. McCorkle said the state’s recent history of Democratic governance has been what has differentiated North Carolina from other southern states in the past.

“I think [Democratic governance] has contributed a lot to the state’s modernization and us being able to distinguish ourselves from a lot of younger southern states, that’s what’s under fire here,” he said. “We may be due at some point, but if Bev is able to win I think it would reflect that the Republican sweep that we saw recently in the state legislature is not a wave but a pendulum swing—and it would be the pendulum’s sweep back.”

As of now, efforts to begin rallying advocates of Perdue are underway. A fundraiser in support of the governor’s campaign took place at the Duke Mansion in Charlotte Monday night, which Farinella described as “the most successful Charlotte fundraiser for any Democratic gubernatorial candidate in state history.”

Farinella said the Perdue campaign is optimistic that Democratic prospects will improve in the next year as the national economy continues to solidify itself. David Rohde, Ernestine Friedl professor of political science, mirrored Farinalla’s sentiment, saying that the economy would be the key contributor to Democratic success in 2012.

“If the economy is significantly better [in 2012] then the Democrats will do significantly better because of that—because the electorate will be different than it was this year,” Rohde said. “If the economy is not doing significantly better, then the Republicans will have the advantage.”


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