Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to announce today that she will not seek a second term as governor, two sources close to the Democrat's campaign tell The News & Observer.
Perdue is expected to make an announcement this afternoon, a N.C. Democratic Party spokesman said. Her campaign aides began telling top Democrats in the past 24 hours. Perdue campaign spokesman Marc Farinella could not be reached for comment.
Her departure sets up a scramble at the top of the Democratic ticket, about 15 weeks before the May primary election. A number of Democrats instantly rise to the short list of potential replacements but all face an uphill battle against likely Republican nominee Pat McCrory, the former longtime Charlotte mayor who matched Perdue's fundraising in this election cycle and sits with $2 million in the bank.
Perdue's political fortunes did not look good for her re-election campaign. A recent poll shows McCrory with a 11-point advantage and three of her former campaign associates face criminal prosecution tied to her 2008 bid.
One likely candidate for governor is state Rep. Bill Faison, an Orange County Democrat, who has been making moves for months about running for higher office. He said he will make an announcement next week about his plans. Asked if he will run, Faison said "You should probably expect the announcement will be in that direction."