Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville will become the new Senate Rules Committee chairman when the legislature convenes in January, likely making him one of the most influential figures in the Republican-led legislature.
Apodaca, 53, who owns a travel agency, has been in the state Senate since 2003. He will help lead efforts to revise Senate rules during the next two months, said incoming Senate leader Phil Berger, who made the appointment.
Apodaca will then become Senate Rules chairman when the legislature comes to town.
The Senate Rules chairman is one of the most powerful positions in the Senate, helping control where bills go and whether they live or die.
Until he resigned from the Senate to become Parole Commission chairman, Sen.Tony Rand of Fayetteville was the Rules Committee chairman. After his resignation, he was replaced by Sen. David Hoyle of Gastonia.
"I will probably be more like David than Tony with my business background," Apodaca said. "I want to keep it open and let everyone have a chance to debate."
Apodaca said the Senate transition team will meet next week to discuss possible Senate rule changes.
Apodaca attended Northern Durham High School and earned a degree in business administration from Western Carolina University.
If we were voting now
Republican Pat McCrory would easily defeat Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue in a rematch of their 2008 election, according to a new survey.
McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, would defeat Perdue 49 percent to 37 percent, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh firm with Democratic leanings. (Perdue defeated McCrory 50 percent to 47 percent in 2008.)
N.C. Republican Chairman Tom Fetzer, if running against Perdue, would get 42 percent of the vote, compared with her 40 percent, according to the poll.
Perdue, a Democrat, has poor job approval ratings; only 33 percent approve of the job she is doing, while 49 percent disapprove, the poll found. Though most people have forgotten who McCrory is, those who do remember him have a positive view. He is viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 20 percent.
Perdue has lost ground among independents. She trailed McCrory by 7 percent among independents in 2008 in PPP's final poll, but now trails him 58 percent to 27 percent among independents.
The spin: Dean Debnam, president of the polling firm: "2012 is a long way away, and Bev Perdue has plenty of time to strengthen her position. But it's clear she's going to have to pick up a lot of ground with independents and the more conservative wing of her party over the next two years to win a second term."
The poll surveyed 517 North Carolina voters from Nov. 19-21. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent points.
New to the Senate
State Sen.-elect Bill Rabon, a Brunswick County veterinarian, has been elected as the Republican freshman Senate leader by the 13 GOP senators-elect.
Rabon was elected in November to the seat that had been held since the 1970s by Democrat R.C. Soles, who did not seek re-election.
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