Steady Council of State

November 7, 2012 

When Pat McCrory becomes governor and convenes his first meeting of the Council of State, some familiar faces will be arrayed around the table. Familiar, at least, to many of the North Carolinians affected by the work of the agencies those council members head.

McCrory, cruising to an election victory that will make him the first Republican governor in 20 years, will appoint cabinet members to run departments such as Transportation, Commerce and Public Safety.

No doubt GOP chiefs hoped that his popularity would help the party claim more of the elective Council of State posts. But when the results were tallied, it was clear that many voters who liked the former Charlotte mayor had split their tickets to support the council’s incumbent Democrats – all of whom won re-election.

Aside from McCrory, who will succeed Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, the only prospective change on the council involves Republican Dan Forest succeeding Democrat Walter Dalton – who lost to McCrory – as lieutenant governor. Forest was leading Democrat Linda Coleman in a race possibly headed toward a recount.

What this signals is an electorate that was paying attention. Notably, Democratic state auditor Beth Wood was granted a second term by a comfortable margin, besting the under-qualified Republican Debra Goldman, she of the Wake County school board intrigues. And another Wake school board Republican with meager credentials, John Tedesco, was turned back in his attempt to oust Democrat June Atkinson as superintendent of public instruction.

Republicans Cherie Berry and Steve Troxler not surprisingly were re-elected as labor and agriculture commissioner, respectively. Insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin, secretary of state Elaine Marshall and state treasurer Janet Cowell, all Democrats, helped their party retain a Council of State majority, defeating candidates whom voters wisely judged not ready for prime time. And Democratic attorney general Roy Cooper had no opposition. It’s not hard to imagine that McCrory will come to value the presence of these proven, experienced figures around that council table.

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