Under the Dome

Former powerful Mecklenburg senator running again – from Iredell County

Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County speaks on the Senate floor.
Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County speaks on the Senate floor. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Republican Bob Rucho, one of North Carolina’s most influential senators before stepping down two years ago, is running again – but not from Mecklenburg County.

Rucho, 69, filed Tuesday in Iredell County. He’s one of four Republicans running in Senate District 34, a new district that includes Iredell and Yadkin counties.

The former dentist said he and his wife plan to buy a lake house when they sell their current house in Matthews. For now he’s living in a Mooresville apartment.

“I felt like it was important to continue some of the good things, we’re seeing some really great economic trends,” Rucho said. “I’m going to work to make sure that the hard-working people of Iredell and Yadkin counties will be able to share in that prosperity.”

Before stepping down, Rucho co-chaired the Senate Finance Committee and led the Redistricting Committee. He was a primary architect of state tax cuts as well as several rounds of legislative and congressional redistricting.

If elected, he said he’s confident of picking up where he left off. So is at least one former colleague.

“He’ll pick up where he left off legislatively,” said former Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican. “He’ll hit the ground running.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Rucho faces Republicans Vickie Sawyer, A. J. Daoud and Bill Howell in the GOP primary. Democrats Lisaney Kong and Beniah McMiller are also running.

In 2013, Rucho was a main sponsor of a bill to transfer control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the city to an independent authority. He pushed it through the Senate in a month.

Asked if he has any more plans for the Charlotte airport if he were to get elected, Rucho didn’t hesitate.

“My interest is in the Statesville (Regional) Airport,” he said.

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill