As a follow-up to previous posts on the key gubernatorial races around the country this year, both Politico and the Raleigh News & Observer are reporting that former Clinton chief of staff and University of North Carolina president Erskine Bowles will not run for governor this year to replace the retiring Democrat Bev Perdue. Since his two U.S. Senate losses in 2002 and 2004, Bowles had gained a lot of respect from Republicans and fiscal conservatives for his steady leadership of UNC and his deficit-commission work with Alan Simpson. He would have presented likely Republican nominee Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, with stiff competition for donors and votes in 2012. Republican chances of taking the biggest gubernatorial prize this year have just surged.
Right now, the GOP still looks to be on track to add significantly to its current majority of governorships across the country.