So, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx decided not to run for governor. A surprise? Hardly. Becoming a governor isn't easy. It takes superb organization, lots of money, and great timing. Just ask Pat McCrory or Richard Vinroot, two other Charlotte mayors who've pitched their hats into the ring previously. None of those things weighed in Foxx's favor this year. McCrory, of course, is making another run at the governor's post this year.
If he had decided to run, Foxx's candidacy would have presented another chance for the North Carolinians to break down a barrier. Until Bev Perdue, N.C. voters had not elected a woman chief executive. And they have never elected a non-white chief executive.
North Carolina joins almost all of the 50 states in that regard. South Carolina, interestingly, broke that barrier in the modern era by electing Republican Nikki Haley as chief executive. And it got a two-fer in the process with Haley being a woman and an Indian American. Republican Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's governor, was the first Indian American elected a chief executive of a U.S. state.
There have been only four black governors in the United States, but just two elected ones. Democrat Douglas Wilder was elected governor of Virginia, serving from 1990-94; Democrat Deval Patrick was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2006 and was relected in 2010. Both Republican P.B.S. Pinchback, governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872 - January 13, 1873, and Democrat David Paterson, governor of New York from March 17, 2007 - 2011 were serving as lieutenant governor and succeeded incumbent governors who were forced from office.
Women have fared better. Thirty-five have served or are serving as governors of U.S. states, including six currently. But as I mentioned in a column last week, the number of females in elected office is declining nationwide.
Posted by Associate Editor Fannie Flono