News: Quick Takes

List of nominees to UNC Board of Governors includes familiar names

Former state Sen. Bob Rucho, pictured at a Nov. 30 press conference. He's among 10 nominees to serve on the UNC Board of Governors (CJ photo by Dan Way)
Former state Sen. Bob Rucho, pictured at a Nov. 30 press conference. He's among 10 nominees to serve on the UNC Board of Governors (CJ photo by Dan Way)

The list of 10 nominees released Monday for the UNC Board of Governors includes several names that’ll be familiar to political junkies.

Among them is Bob Rucho, the former Mecklenburg County state senator who led the Republican Senate’s tax reform efforts and retired last year from the General Assembly. Rucho also headed the Senate’s redistricting committee.

Another is Tom Fetzer, who served as mayor of Raleigh from 1993-99 and was the state Republican Party chairman from 2009-11. During Fetzer’s tenure as GOP chairman, Republicans took control of the state House and Senate for the first time since the 19th century.

Fetzer also pressed the State Board of Elections to take seriously unreported donations in the form of free flights to the 2004 and 2008 campaigns of then-Gov. Beverly Perdue. In 2010, the board convened a hearing and fined the Perdue committee $30,000. Subsequent reporting by Carolina Journal and others expanded the probe of Perdue’s campaign. The result was misdemeanor guilty pleas from five people associated with Perdue’s campaign related to illegal donations. Perdue chose not to seek a second term in 2012. (See CJ’s full reporting on the scandal here.) Fetzer also was an employee of the John Locke Foundation in the early 2000s.

Another nominee was a participant in the Perdue flying shenanigans: Randall Ramsey, a Carteret County businessman and political fundraiser who ran unsuccessfully against Norm Sanderson in the 2012 GOP primary for the 2nd Senate District. Ramsey had provided significant contributions to Perdue, her Democratic predecessor Mike Easley, and the N.C. Democratic Party before 2012 his Senate run. Ramsey or his company was connected to four flights provided to Perdue’s campaign that were not reported to officials. Sanderson, who won the 2012 general election, is one of the senators nominating Ramsey.

Other nominees are incumbents Marty Kotis, Scott Lampe, Steve Long, and Harry Smith, Jr., along with newcomers Nigel Alston, Frankie Jones, Sr., and Laura Staton.

The General Assembly recently enacted a law reducing the number of seats on the board from 32 to 24, and these Senate nominees will compete with 14 people nominated last week by the House.