Rep. Larry Hall of Durham says he won’t seek another term as House Democratic leader when the legislature’s 2017 session begins in January.
Hall has led House Democrats since 2013, when the caucus elected him to replace former Speaker Joe Hackney, who retired from the legislature. Hall told The News & Observer Tuesday that he announced his plans to fellow Democrats this week.
“I am not seeking the position at this time,” he said. “That’s kind of the commitment I made when I ran the first time that I would serve only two terms, and I’m trying to uphold that commitment.”
Hall says it’s an unofficial traditional in the House Democratic caucus for the leader to step down after two terms. “It’s good for other folks to have opportunity in leadership, and that’s the reason for that tradition,” he said. “I feel good about the time we had and what we did and the foundation we laid, and I think we’ll continue to be successful.”
Hall and Democrats had hoped to break the House’s Republican supermajority in this year’s election, which would have meant the GOP would have difficulty overriding vetoes from Gov. Roy Cooper in 2017. That didn’t happen. “Even though we defeated four Republicans, we only netted one seat,” Hall noted.
He said he doesn’t know who might run to succeed him in the leadership position. “I’m sure a lot of people will be coming forward,” he said. “It will be a challenge and an opportunity.”