Under the Dome

Republican NC senator, facing a new district, says he’s not running in 2018

Sen. Bill Cook
Sen. Bill Cook N&O file photo

Redistricting claimed its first victim.

Republican state Sen. Bill Cook, drawn into a Democratic-leaning district in a new election map, announced Tuesday that he won’t run for reelection.

Cook, who lives in Beaufort County, argued against the configuration of the district this week. It’s an area Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won with 53 percent of the vote over Republican Donald Trump, who took 45 percent. The new district includes incumbent Democratic Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, who lives in Northampton County.

Cook is in his third Senate term. He also served a term in the House.

“I’ve tried to be a good servant to the people of Eastern North Carolina,” Cook said in a statement. “However, the recent redistricting changes have prompted me to re-evaluate my commitment to my family. And as much as I love the folks of Eastern North Carolina, I love my family more. I have decided to not seek another term in the state Senate. I am blessed to have a wonderful family and I need to spend more of my life with them – especially my grandchildren.”

Cook said he was proud of his work promoting the oyster industry and keeping inlets open.

He also worked to lift the ban on plastic bags at the Outer Banks, a prohibition pushed by former Senate leader Marc Basnight, who represented Dare County and wanted to rid beaches of flying debris.

Cook also filed bills to protect a senior Superior Court judge in his district from a State Bar investigation and to increase pay for clerks of court in counties he represents.

Cook vigorously opposed solar farms, saying they permanently ruined farmland. Solar technology experts say such concerns are unfounded.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner