For the first time since her stunning announcement that she would not seek re-election, Gov. Bev Perdue explained her decision to the media Saturday night.
Gov. Perdue spoke to reporters before addressing a Democratic Party-sponsored dinner in Greensboro.
After nearly three days of silence, Perdue spoke for only about 10 minutes and answered only a handful of questions. But she said she believes it's in the best interest of her party not to run for re-election because it puts her in a better position to work with Republicans and generate more funding for education.
Perdue said she wants to keep fighting for a three-quarter-cent sales tax increase in next year's budget.
"The sales tax issue is not a political issue. We need revenue; the state needs revenue. The cuts have been Draconian," Perdue said.
There are just 15 weeks to go until the May primary. Some Democrats already have announced their intentions to take Perdue's place, while several more political leaders said they're still thinking it over.
When asked about the timing of her announcement, Perdue said she thought it would not put Democrats at a disadvantage.
"I don't think that it puts anyone at a disadvantage. In fact, it might be an advantage because it allows people to get really excited and enthused quickly rather than dragging it out," Perdue said.
However, of the names currently being discussed as possible opponents for Pay McCrory, none have the capital he has amassed in his campaign war chest.
Perdue added she could not help when she made her decision.
She also said that even though she cleared her schedule and cancelled public appearances, she hasn't been avoiding the public or the media since her announcement.
"Thursday afternoon after I made my announcement, I actually just wanted to go home and regroup. I was in New Bern. I was surprised none of you came to see me or call me there. I answered my phone," Perdue said.
The Governor said she will travel the state and push for the sales tax increase.
Perdue did not have say what her plans would be after leaving office.
"I don't know what I’m going to do after this year," Perdue said.
The race to replace Perdue is growing.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts said she is giving thoughtful consideration to a gubernatorial run.
Charlotte Mayor Antony Foxx also is considering a run for the Democratic nomination.
Earlier Saturday in Greensboro, NC Rep. Bill Faison formally announced his candidacy. The Orange County Democrat said when it comes to fixing problems with education and job creation, he's the man for the job.
Faison joins Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton in the race, meaning there will definitely be a Democratic primary in May.
Dalton joined the race within hours of Perdue's announcement.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, who plans to announce his candidacy Tuesday.