Much has been made of the "Charlotte Curse" in North Carolina. This is the supposed inability of Charlotte Mayors to win statewide office. The list of unsuccessful Charlotte politicians since the 80’s is fairly impressive; Eddie Knox, Harvey Gantt, Richard Vinroot. But this list pales in comparison to the real curse – that of Lieutenant Governors in North Carolina running for Governor!
No sitting Lieutenant Governor has moved up to Governor since Jim "Governor for Life" Hunt won in 1976. Let’s look at the record:
- 1976 – Lt. Gov. Jim Hunt won the general election for governor
- 1984 – Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green lost the Democratic Primary
- 1988 – Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan lost the general election
- 1992 – Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner lost the general election
- 2000 – Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker lost the Democratic Primary
- 2008 – Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue won the Democratic Primary but is in a close general election
While both of the trends started in earnest in 1984 with the loss by Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green and Mayor Eddie Knox in the Democratic Primary for Governor, the resemblance ends there. None of the Charlotte politicians ever won a statewide general election for any office. Every Lt. Gov. had at least one, and in some cases more, statewide general election victories.
Looking at the inability of seasoned statewide politicians to move up to the Governor’s mansion leads me to only one conclusion – there is a curse on Lieutenant Governors who try and become governor.
Francis De Luca