Under the Dome

Democrats raise money off GOP legislators’ retirements

Senate Finance Chairman Bob Rucho is one of the leading Republican legislators who will step down after next year’s session.
Senate Finance Chairman Bob Rucho is one of the leading Republican legislators who will step down after next year’s session. cseward@newsobserver.com

The N.C. Democratic Party is highlighting the departure of several leading Republican legislators in an effort to raise money for next year’s legislative races.

Nine House Republicans and four Senate Republicans have said they won’t seek reelection, including Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, Senate Finance Chairman Bob Rucho and House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam.

“Senators Tom Apodaca and Bob Rucho, as well as Representatives Leo Daughtry and Roger West have obviously decided the voters in their districts were tired of the race to the bottom they’ve championed, and quite frankly, I couldn’t be happier,” Democratic Party executive director Kimberly Reynolds wrote in a email with the heading “Republicans on the run.”

“Tired” voters, of course, is not the Republicans’ stated reason for retiring. Some said they were simply at retirement age, while others said they’d accomplished their main policy goals.

The legislators that Reynolds mentioned come from districts drawn to favor Republicans, so it’s unlikely that their departures will help Democrats. The minority party will likely be focusing resources on other districts where Republican control is less certain.

But Reynolds sounded an optimistic note in her fundraising plea. “In order to capitalize on this great opportunity, we need every Democrat in the state – including you – to step up and help us defeat whoever the Republicans will try to line up as their replacements, who I’m sure will be just as bad,” she wrote.

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