Reeves, four-term senator, won't seek re-election

Staff WritersMarch 30, 2004 

Four-term state Sen. Eric Reeves of Raleigh announced Monday that he will not seek reelection this fall, saying it was someone else's time to serve.

Reeves, 40, said his decision comes down to just wanting a change. Reeves spent four years on the Raleigh City Council before winning his Senate seat.

"I've been doing this a quarter of my life, 11 years," he said. "It's just something as simple as wanting different challenges, wanting to look at things from a different perspective."

Reeves focused on computer technology while in office, leading a Senate information technology committee for a few years. He plans to build on that interest when he leaves the Senate as an attorney in private practice. He and several friends plan to start a law firm where Reeves hopes to represent technology companies.

Over the past several months, Reeves has worked with the state Treasurer's Office on a program that would let state employees, teachers and retirees get credit in their retirement accounts for grocery coupons they use. Reeves said he developed the technology and donated it.

Reeves, son-in-law to former U.S. Sen. Robert Morgan, said he plans to stay involved in community life and did not rule out another run for elected office.

Reeves is the third Senate Democrat this year to announce his departure. While Sens. Wib Gulley of Durham and Steve Metcalf of Asheville resigned their seats to take new jobs, Reeves will complete his term, which ends in January. Republican Sen. Virginia Foxx of Watauga County is also not seeking re-election, running for Congress instead.

Reeves made a short-lived run for the U.S. Senate in 2001, dropping out well before the primary. He won a close and expensive race for a state Senate seat against former Raleigh Mayor Paul Coble in 2002. The district was redrawn in November and is now considered easier for a Democrat to win. Coble said Monday he hadn't given any thought to running and may no longer live in the district, which includes parts of Raleigh, Cary and Morrisville.

With Reeves' announcement, Democrats rushed to say they want to succeed him.

Carter Worthy, a commercial real estate saleswoman from Raleigh, and Jack Nichols, a Raleigh lawyer, said they are running.

Worthy, 44, an unsuccessful Raleigh City Council candidate in 1995, filed papers with the state Board of Elections that allow her to raise money for the Senate race. Worthy said she has been thinking about seeking a Senate seat for two years. "I think I'll have a strong campaign, and I think it'll be well funded," she said.

Nichols, 52, is a former Wake County commissioner who lost a close race for state House in 2000 to former Rep. Art Pope. Nichols figures he can build on his name recognition from that campaign and his time in office.

Several other Democrats are also considering campaigns.

Raleigh City Council member Janet Cowell said she is seriously considering a run. Last fall, Cowell won a second two-year term to an at-large seat on the part-time nonpartisan council.

Cowell's term ends in December 2005, so if she were to run and win, the City Council would pick her replacement. She is a marketing manager for SJF Ventures, a venture capital firm in Durham that invests in companies that provide entry-level jobs.

Yevonne Brannon, a former Wake County commissioner who lost a reelection bid in 2000, said she's thinking about running. Brannon works for N.C. State University. Bruce Thompson, a lawyer and lobbyist, is thinking of making this Senate election his first run for office.

They would join Republican Mark Bradrick, an insurance adjuster and former Marine, who announced his candidacy in January.

"I think if you run as a conservative, you win," he said. "I fully think I'm going to win this seat."

Sen. Richard Stevens, a Cary Republican, said a Republican would have a good chance to win the open seat, despite the changed district boundaries.

"It's a leaning Democrat district, but it's not a slam dunk," he said.

Staff writer Lynn Bonner can be reached at 829-4821 or lbonner@newsobserver.com.

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