Orange County Democrat Rep. Bill Faison caused an uproar yesterday by saying that he did not think Gov. Bev Perdue would run again. Here is what he told WRAL’s Laura Leslie:
“You have all these indictments. And the focus of the governor’s office ought to be on the people and ought to be dealing with the economic crisis we got,” Faison said.
“Clearly, the DA is saying that they’re still investigating this matter, so it’s not over. Clearly, the governor’s office is focused on those investigations and the consequences of them, and the focus ought to be on the people,” he said.
“So I think, ultimately, Gov. Perdue will do the right thing and decide not to run. I don’t believe you’ll ever see her file,” Faison said.
Faison later said that Perdue’s focus was not on the economy:
“Is her focus really on a jobs plan? Where IS her jobs plan?” Faison asked.
“I think the focus that the governor has right now is on not only the indictments that have come out, but the ongoing investigation which has the potential to lead to more indictments,” Faison said. “And I think what we need is to move forward with strong leadership on the issues that are affecting the people in our state, [and] go to work solving the problems.”
Perdue campaign spokesman Tom Farinella flatly rejected the idea that Perdue won’t run, saying “Governor Perdue is running for re-election. I can say that unequivocally.”
Faison’s statements are not surprising, as the lawmaker has clearly had his eye on running for the Democratic nomination himself. Faison has written what he calls a “jobs plan”, which claims to decrease unemployment through a sales tax increase and a massive tax credit to small business owners. That credit would be funded by cutting an unspecified 40% of tax loopholes. He has recently been on a statewide tour, speaking at Democratic events, and has heightened his media presence for no discernible purpose other than to increase his own visibility.
Speaking to WRAL, Farinella mocked Faison’s naked political ambition.
“Look, Bill Faison thinks he ought to have a higher office. He wants to be governor or senator or president. And he thinks the way to do that is to spread innuendo or falsehoods about someone else.”
“A few months ago, he ran for chairman of his own party and was soundly trounced,” said Farinella. “He doesn’t even have a following there. He’s become all about himself, and I think a lot of people in his own party find that very disappointing, and I think that’s what you were hearing from him today. ”
Farinella’s mocking comments were echoed in posts by the liberal IndyWeek blogger Bob Geary, who wrote a scathing post entitled “Note to Bill Faison: Run or Get Off the Pot”. Officials in the state party were clearly not enthused with Faison’s speculation. North Carolina Democratic Party Communications Director Walton Robinson got into an online spat with Faison spokesperson Jeanne Milliken-Bonds, telling her that “Where I work we respect and support our Dem. leaders-something you know nothing about.”