News: CJ Exclusives

N.C. House Speaker Pro Tem Won’t Seek Another Term in 2012

House No. 2 man might aim for higher office

N.C. Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, announced Thursday that he won’t seek a fifth term in office next year, freeing him potentially to seek higher office.

A certified public accountant and investment advisor, Folwell has served in the General Assembly since 2005. After Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Folwell was elected speaker pro tem, the No. 2 position in that chamber, although it has little significant power.

“I borrowed this seat from the people of the 74th district seven years ago, and I think it’s important that representatives represent, and part of that function is to let your employer know of your intentions as soon as possible,” Folwell said at a press conference. “That’s what I’m doing today.”

Asked if he would seek higher office in 2012, the Winston-Salem Republican didn’t name any specifics but left the door open.

“I intend to give prayerful consideration to what the future may look like over the next few weeks,” Folwell said.

Folwell has been named as a possible contender for several Council of State offices, particularly state treasurer. Folwell sought the GOP nomination for that office in 2008 before bowing out of the race. Former Republican House member Bill Daughtridge of Rocky Mount won the nomination but lost to Democrat Janet Cowell, 53 percent to 46 percent, in the general election.

Cowell has confirmed that she will seek a second term as treasurer.

“We’ve made some good changes, but I think it’s kind of like being in the middle of a haircut: There is still lots of work to do. I want to keep going,” she said on WRAL-TV in October.

Another potential office Folwell might seek is state auditor. Incumbent Beth Wood, a Democrat, has not attracted a high-profile opponent for the 2012 race.

The GOP’s redistricting plan, approved earlier this year, “double bunked” Folwell in the same district as Rep. Larry Brown, R-Forsyth. At the press conference Thursday, Folwell denied that the redrawn maps are the cause of his retirement from the House.

“On a more personal note, I will say that this state and country is at a precipice,” he said. “The idea that what we have here can be replaced is ridiculous. We’re facing a major choice in this state and this country. Either we’re going to repair what we have or we’re going to lose it.”

David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.