Soles Retirement Another Sign of Difficult 2010 Election Environment for North Carolina Democrats
Raleigh, NC – Senator R.C. Soles (D-Columbus), North Carolina’s longest serving state legislator, has announced that he will retire from the N.C. Senate rather than seek re-election next year.
The move comes in the midst of a national political environment that is trending Republican and presenting a serious challenge to Democratic candidates in the 2010 elections. Soles’ retirement comes on the heels of previous announcements by Democratic Senators Tony Rand, Julia Boseman, and David Hoyle that each will leave the N.C. Senate rather than seek another term. N.C. Democrats in the state senate are facing problems similar to their national counterparts, several of whom have decided to retire or switch parties, rather than face a political headwind in the coming elections.
Soles barely survived a tough challenge in 2008 largely because Barack Obama became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to carry North Carolina in 30 years. The unpopularity in North Carolina of the liberal agenda being forced through Congress by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama combined with the ever-growing corruption scandal consuming the Democratic Party and former Governor Mike Easley seriously undermine the Democrats’ prospects of victory in competitive legislative districts like Senator Soles’.
Making matters worse for Legislative Democrats in competitive districts, Governor Perdue’s rock-bottom approval ratings prevent her from providing the firewall Legislative Democrats have come to expect from popular Governors like Jim Hunt and Mike Easley.
Recent polling by TelOpinion Research for the NC Republican Senate Committee illustrates the practical effect these problems create for Democrats in competitive districts. Soles trailed all potential 2010 challengers by a wide margin and faced near-certain defeat in a bid for re-election. Other incumbent Democrats in similar situations may soon join Hoyle, Rand, Boseman and Soles in electing to retire rather than seek re-election in this political environment.
Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement:
“The liberal agenda of national Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama is taking a heavy toll on North Carolina Democrats. Combined with mounting corruption investigations of top-level state Democratic officials and the rock-bottom approval ratings of Governor Perdue, long-serving pro-business Democrats in the State Senate are choosing to retire rather than seek re-election in a political environment where they face likely defeat.
“As liberals gain power in the Democratic Senate Caucus, they are aligning with the liberal national Democratic agenda. An agenda the citizens of North Carolina do not support.”Tweet