Ex-Rep. Hayes to leave NC GOP chief’s job in June

  • Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 10:14 a.m.

RALEIGH (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, who led the North Carolina Republican Party through another historic election cycle, announced Monday he won’t seek another two years as party chairman when his term expires in June.

Hayes, who was initially named chairman in January 2011 to serve out predecessor Tom Fetzer’s term, said he told top party leaders in a conference call of his intention to step down at the next chairman’s election at the state GOP convention.

Hayes, who lives in Concord, said in an interview he’s been thrilled to lead the party during a time of great success. But he added he believes the party now needs a chairman who can spend more time in Raleigh given the GOP’s predominance in state government.

Pat McCrory became last November the first Republican elected governor since 1988, and along with expanded House and Senate GOP majorities the party now holds control in the executive and legislative branches simultaneously for the first time since 1870.

“It just makes sense that you have somebody who lives in Raleigh and is here five to seven days a week,” Hayes said.

Now at age 67, the former 8th District congressman, state House member and 1996 GOP nominee for governor also sounded like he wanted more family time.

“I’ve got hunting and fishing lessons with my grandchildren that need my attention,” Hayes said.

Hayes, a descendant of the Cannon textile family and social conservative, was elected by the party’s executive committee by a comfortable margin to serve the final five months of Fetzer’s term. Fetzer’s term was marked by the party’s new control of the General Assembly after the 2010 elections.

Hayes was the only candidate running at the June 2011 convention, where he won a two-year term in his own right.

Hayes served the south-central 8th District for 10 years before losing to Democrat Larry Kissell in 2008. Former Hayes aide Richard Hudson defeated Kissell in 2012.

Republicans fared well last fall in part due to district boundaries they drew in 2011 during the once-a-decade redistricting. Republicans now hold nine of the 13 seats in the state’s delegation. North Carolina was also the only battleground state won by Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama. Obama won the state’s electoral votes in 2008 — the first time for a Democrat in 32 years.

Hayes said he would keep working hard for the party now and after the June election. Hayes said he wasn’t going to endorse an individual to succeed him.

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