The party needs a new leadership pipeline for Governor. For decades, it was the Sanford-Hunt tribe. Then it was the Senate’s Basnight-Rand clan, which produced Easley, Perdue and Dalton. It was a good run, but has run dry.
The party has talent in the legislature. But do the rising stars have the requisite political skills – especially the money-raising ability of their predecessors?
One criticism of the new breed is that business doesn’t like them – and has gone over to the Republicans. But there is a lot of money in this state – and a lot of new businesses and new entrepreneurial, business people. Along with trolling for cash in the same old spots, especially among business people concerned about education, there are new fishing holes to be found. Plus the world of Internet fundraising that the Obama campaign pioneered.
Some of the names being mentioned:
Josh Stein: Rose to Minority Whip after just two years in the Senate. Focuses on education, infrastructure and innovation. Has vision and proven, practical political skills. He raised more than $400,000 this cycle, more than any other Democrat in the legislature.
Deborah Ross: An effective advocate in the legislature for the past decade. Hard-working, smart and tough. Will be an important leader in the House with the vacuum created by Joe Hackney’s departure
Anthony Foxx: Mayor of NC’s largest city, which is no longer a curse. Put on a great convention; delivered when the spotlight was on.
Eric Mansfield: Great resume – doctor, minister and soldier. In just one term, impressed Democrats and Republicans alike. Ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor, and some people now talk about him for new party chair.
It’s easy now to pooh-pooh them as candidates for Governor in 2016 or 2020. But it once was easy to dismiss the presidential hopes of a first-term African-American Senator with a funny name.