Perdue faced plenty of adversity

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue at The Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C., on Monday, June 27, 2011. (Ted Richardson)

January 26, 2012 3:10:17 PM PST
Since she took office in 2009, Governor Beverly Perdue has faced a steady stream of hurdles - from poor poll numbers to a campaign investigation and a Republican controlled General Assembly.

Uncertain popularity

From the first day she took office, Perdue has struggled with a state economy hit hard by the recession and an unemployment rate persistently above the national average. Polling conducted throughout her term has consistently shown her approval ratings hovering around 40 percent.

Campaign investigation

Perdue faced scrutiny about her 2008 campaign and more than three dozen flights that she didn't initially report on campaign filings required by state election officials.

In August 2010, the North Carolina Board of Elections fined the Perdue campaign $30,000 for "flight irregularities." The elections board said Perdue made dozens of flights aboard campaign donors' planes during the 2004 and 2008 elections that weren't disclosed in campaign-finance reports until 2009.

Later, four people were indicted related to the flight investigation, including her former campaign finance director.

In February 2011, a Wake County grand jury indicted Robert Caldwell of Morganton on a felony obstruction charge. Prosecutors allege he paid for a Perdue campaign flight and then solicited a check from another man to make it look like a legitimate contribution.

Then in November, three associates of Governor Beverly Perdue were indicted on felony charges related to her election campaign.

Trawick Hamilton "Buzzy" Stubbs and Juleigh Lee Sitton were accused of obstruction of justice and filing false reports charges. Peter Anthony Reichard faced a single count of filing a false report.

Reichard was Perdue's campaign finance director. Sitton was director of the Governor's Western Office until she resigned in August. Stubbs is a New Bern attorney.

The indictments allege that the trio knowingly caused the Bev Perdue Committee to file finance reports that were false in that they did not list all the contributions, loans, and expenditures that they should have.

Battles with General Assembly

Perdue has had to deal with state budget problems that led her and fellow Democrats to raise the sales tax by a penny in 2009 and make deep cuts to education and health care. The first-term governor more recently clashed with the new Republican leadership in the General Assembly, which swept into power after the 2010 elections and gave GOP control of the Legislature for the first time since the 1870s.

Perdue has traded jabs with Republican leaders on issues ranging from jobless benefits to a measure allowing death row inmates to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their convictions. In a sign of the tension, she vetoed a record 16 bills last year.

She announced last week she would offer a budget this spring that would seek a sales tax increase for education. Republicans let a temporary sales tax increase expire last summer, and at least one legislative leader called her proposal dead on arrival.

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