Spaulding to run for governor
Durham lawyer Ken Spaulding says he intends to run for governor in 2016 to give voters “a reasonable alternative to the extremist positions and actions” taken by the Republicans who now lead state government.
The incumbent, Gov. Pat McCrory, has proven “weak, timid and ineffective when it comes to reining in his out-of-control legislative majority on the very crucial issues of education, business, women’s issue and undemocratic voter suppression,” Spaulding said Monday.
He added that he’s been consulting potential supporters in the Triangle, the Triad and the northeast and southeast parts of the state.
Spaulding said his intention is to run in 2016 regardless of whether the most high-profile potential Democratic candidate, state Attorney General Roy Cooper, enters the campaign.
“If Roy chooses to run as well, then I look forward to a very spirited primary,” including a consideration of Cooper’s record as attorney general and handling of the State Bureau of Investigation, he said.
Politically, Spaulding is a Democrat and a former three-term member of the N.C. House who in recent years also served on the state Board of Transportation.
In the mid-1990s he was chairman of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, one of Durham’s big-three political-action groups.
He also ran in 1984 for a U.S. House of Representatives seat, losing to incumbent Tim Valentine in a Democratic Party primary. Valentine took 52 percent of the vote to Spaulding’s 48 percent.
In the private sector, Spaulding’s law practice has focused on land-use issues.
He helped orchestrate the city of Durham’s approval of the Streets of Southpoint mall and most of the development that has unfolded around it. The project and its follow-ups have “brought about $200 million in investment to North Carolina and the Triangle,” he said.
Reacting to Spaulding’s move Monday, Mayor Bill Bell said that while the election is almost three years away, it’s not too early for candidates to be getting started.
“The earlier, the better,” Bell said, adding that Democrats need a nominee who “is articulate, has the energy, has the business background and has been elected before,” even if not to a statewide office.
Spaulding “has basically all those attributes,” Bell said.
“How well known he is across the state, that’s another issue,” the mayor continued. “Who is going to run is also another issue. But by starting early, you get a sense of both those things.”
Spaulding is the second Triangle Democrat to signal an interest in the 2016 election.
Former Chapel Hill Town Councilman Jim Protzman formed a campaign committee in May. He said McCrory has been “missing in action” and that he intends to run “an insurgent campaign” in the run-up to 2016.