Editorial: Another one eliminated in 2016 race

Oct. 22, 2013 @ 09:36 PM

We already knew Barbara Howe of Oxford wouldn’t be running for governor of North Carolina in 2016. Now James Protzman, the councilman from Chapel Hill, has said he’s done with it as well.

There’s no surprise the race is going to shape up as incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory against Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general. Cooper is winning plenty of support from fellow Democrats, even while his conflict of interest meter strays loose.

That’s going to be a familiar theme over the next two years. Republicans will have that rock ready for the slingshot in a moment’s notice, no matter what Cooper does or doesn’t do.

Still, he has a job to carry out and we expect him to do so. When there is question, such as his bold statements on voting laws, he should act for the good of North Carolinians. That may include recusing himself.

Howe told us after the 2012 race that she was done. While we won’t be surprised for a change of position, we do expect the Libertarians to send forth someone other than Howe or Michael Munger.

Protzman wrote on his blog about his experience, a campaign started about seven months ago. It was that quick for him to see and feel the pinch of corporate support and what happens when people are networking in politics.

Perhaps his distaste — he wrote it was like drinking poison — is just the elixir we need in Raleigh. Getting him there, of course, would be long odds.

McCrory can only surprise us by not running for a second term. True, Bev Perdue did just that. But she also saw the fights with a Republican-led General Assembly waiting. McCrory won’t have that.

And his first term activities have mostly disappointed veteran watchers of the capital. There has been no big-issue initiative for McCrory to hang his hat on. Instead, he’s tried to stabilize. A second term could have a larger goal.

Cooper will challenge and could win. He’ll have to weigh the risk and reward of participating in hot-button issues involving his office. They will be campaign trail fodder until the last ballot is cast.

Poison, one might say, with final death determined by who controls it.