Under the Dome

NC’s only unaffiliated legislator won’t run again

Rep. Paul Tine – who made waves earlier this year when he left the Democratic Party to become the House’s only unaffiliated member – says he won’t seek reelection next year.

Tine is a Kitty Hawk insurance agent who has represented Beaufort, Dare, Hyde and Washington counties since 2013. He says he wants to spend more time with his family.

“Since returning home two weeks ago, I have come to realize that my absence has taken a heavy toll on my family,” Tine said in a letter to supporters. “It is important that I take the time while my children are still young to be a father and husband.”

If Tine ran for another term, he could potentially face both a Democratic and Republican challenger in the November general election. But he said in an interview Wednesday that the challenge wasn’t part of his decision.

“I was very much looking forward to running as an unaffiliated,” he said. “I didn’t have party money the first few times that I ran.”

Tine has joined the Republican caucus this session, and GOP leaders have given him more power, including the co-chairmanship of the Transportation Appropriations Committee. He says the party switch proved to be “an extremely positive move” but added to his time away from home.

“By working with the majority caucus, they’ve been adding responsibilities which kept me up there Friday and Saturday, which made the strain on the family harder than it was before,” Tine said.

He didn’t rule out another run for office in the future. “Maybe someday when the family gets a little more mature, maybe I can look at it again,” he said.

Tine is the latest legislator to announce he won’t run in 2016. With next year’s primaries moved from May to March, incumbents face extra pressure to decide on their plans – leading to a flurry of announcements this month.

The list of departures so far includes Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam of Apex, Rep. Leo Daughtry of Smithfield, Rep. Jacqueline Shaffer of Charlotte, Rep. Rayne Brown of Lexington and Sen. Stan Bingham of Denton – all Republicans.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter