RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, facing a hard fight for a second term, will not seek re-election, a Democratic official said Thursday.
The first woman elected governor in North Carolina history, Perdue faced a potential rematch against former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican whom she narrowly defeated in 2008 in the state's closest gubernatorial contest since 1972. Perdue's win was partly attributed to Barack Obama's surprise win in North Carolina.
Perdue was expected to make a formal announcement later Thursday, according to a Democratic official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the governor's decision.
News of Perdue's decision came as North Carolina Democratic Rep. Brad Miller said he also would not seek re-election, avoiding a potential primary contest against fellow Democrat David Price after the Republican-controlled Legislature drew them into the same district.
North Carolina is considered an important state for Obama's re-election prospects and Democrats decided to hold the party convention in Charlotte in September.
Perdue has struggled with a state economy hit hard by the recession and an unemployment rate persistently above the national average. Polling conducted throughout her term has consistently shown her approval ratings hovering around 40 percent.
The first-term governor has clashed with the new Republican leadership in the General Assembly, which swept into power after the 2010 elections and gave GOP control of the Legislature for the first time since the 1870s. Perdue has traded jabs with Republican leaders on issues ranging from jobless benefits to a measure allowing death row inmates to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their convictions. In a sign of the tension, she vetoed a record 16 bills last year.
A native of New Bern, N.C., Perdue worked as a teacher and director of geriatric services at a hospital in her home town before entering politics. She served in the Legislature and as lieutenant governor before being elected governor.
Associated Press writer Tom Breen in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.