Cary Democrat Weiss won't seek re-election

February 8, 2012 

It's getting hard to keep up with who's running for office or not these days.

State Rep. Jennifer Weiss announced Tuesday that she would not seek another term.

Weiss, an outspoken Democrat, represented Wake County for 12 years and called her decision difficult. "But I feel that it is time for me to take a break from politics, pursue some of my other interests and spend more time with my family and friends," she said in a statement.

Redistricting put Weiss in a different district covering the Cary and Morrisville area represented by Republican Tom Murry. Political observers consider the seat key to Democrats retaking the House. Weiss said she is confident another strong Democrat will step to the plate.

Democrat draws challenger

State Rep. William Brisson, a conservative Democrat who sided with Republicans to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of the state budget, will get a primary challenger.

Elizabethtown attorney Matt Dixon announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination in state House District 22. In a statement, Dixon said he will focus his campaign on returning education funding cut under the budget Brisson and Republican leaders crafted. "If elected, I will work to restore local funding and education jobs lost during the last session of the legislature," he said in a statement.

Brisson is one of the so-called Gang of Five Democrats who sided with Republicans on the budget. He said he voted for the budget because it preserved a prison in his district that was slated for closure.

Butterfield earmarks noted

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield is facing tough questions about whether earmarks he put in the federal budget helped his own interests.

A Washington Post analysis looked at 33 members of Congress who directed millions to their own districts for public projects near land owned by the lawmakers or their families. Butterfield, a Democrat who represents North Carolina's 1st Congressional District in the northeastern corner of the state, landed on the list for directing $817,500 to revitalize buildings in downtown Wilson. The Post found Butterfield owns 19 properties within three-quarters of a mile of the revitalization area.

A spokeswoman for Butterfield told the paper that the location of the projects "in no way influenced his decision," saying the city developed them without his consultation.

Garrou not running

Democrat Sen. Linda Garrou, a seven-term incumbent from Winston-Salem, said Tuesday that she will not run for re-election. Garrou, a former budget writer, was drawn into a district with Republican Sen. Pete Brunstetter. She is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit brought by registered Democrats against Republican redistricting plans.

"It has been my honor to serve the great people of Winston-Salem," Garrou said in a statement.

"I am so grateful for the support and encouragement I've received through the years."

Alexander enters schools race

Republican Richard Alexander, a former small-business owner from Union County, is running for state superintendent of public instruction. Alexander says he'll cut the state Department of Public Instruction budget by 60 percent in his first two years and return the savings to local districts.

He joins teacher Ray Martin, Wake County school board member John Tedesco, and Union County school board member David Scholl in the Republican primary pool. State Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Fayetteville, says he will announce his candidacy on Thursday.

jfrank@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4698

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