Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican and one of North Carolina’s most powerful lawmakers, said Monday that he won’t run for an eighth term.
His decision comes on the eve of candidate filing and on the heels of a similar announcement by veteran GOP Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews, guaranteeing a shake-up in Senate leadership.
“We’ve come to a point where we’ve accomplished almost everything we set out to,” Apodaca said Monday. “Politics has never been the driving force in my life.”
As Senate Rules chairman, Apodaca has determined which legislation got to the floor for a vote and which remained bottled up in committee. He’s regarded as the muscle of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger of Edenton.
Rucho co-chairs the Senate Finance Committee.
Apodaca said he thought about retiring before the start of the current session.
“The reality of the situation,” he said, “is I decided two years ago I wasn’t running again and Sen. Berger asked me to give him two more years, and I did.”
Berger’s office issued a glowing statement Monday morning, following the announcement. It included this comment from Berger:
“Tom is not only one of my closest friends in the legislature, he’s one of my closest friends – period. Tom was a steadying influence when we made big decisions, and someone the caucus could always count on to solve big problems. I can’t overstate how instrumental he has been to the Senate Republican Caucus’s electoral and legislative success.”