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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) will not seek a third term in the North Carolina Senate.

Goolsby says he wants to spend more time with his two young daughters and on his Wilmington law practice.

Even though he won’t run again, Goolsby says the seat will stay with the GOP.

“This is a Republican seat,” Goolsby said. “I know the liberals like to say it’s somehow a toss-up, but it’s never been a toss-up for me. I won by 16 or 17 points against (James) Leutze, and I beat my last opponent by twice the Republican handicap that we already had on it, so it was 8 or 9 points then. We’ve always won this seat strongly and will continue to do so.”

Goolsby, who says he is “a citizen legislator, not a career politician,” won the Senate seat in 2010 by beating out Leutze, the former chancellor of UNCW. He won reelection in 2012 by defeating attorney Deb Butler in a highly contentious and often personal campaign.

Goolsby points to New Hanover County’s falling unemployment rate as a key accomplishment during his time in office. He also helped engineer legislation that effectively ended forced annexation in North Carolina, which had become of special importance locally after the City of Wilmington annexed much of Monkey Junction.

While Goolsby quickly became an outspoken member of the General Assembly, he also became a lightning rod for criticism.

“Thom Goolsby represents everything that is wrong with the reckless Republican agenda, from gutting public education to his cold-hearted support of ending benefits for thousands of jobless North Carolinians,” Micah Beasley, a North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman said in a news release. “Rather than face the voters in his district, Sen. Goolsby chose to retire, instead.”

A champion of sorts for many conservative issues, liberal groups often attacked him for his views on issues like abortion and the death penalty, though he also sponsored a bill making human trafficking a sex crime in North Carolina. He gained statewide attention last year when he referred to the Moral Monday protests in Raleigh as “Moron Mondays.” Those protests eventually found their way to his downtown Wilmington office.

Many names are already being tossed around for possible successors to Goolsby. Republican Rick Catlin will not be one of them. Catlin, who is currently in the middle of his first term in the NC House representing part of New Hanover County, said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger asked him to run for the seat. Catlin says he gave it some thought, but decided to honor his commitment as the Republican’s freshman leader in the House.

Comment on this Story

  • employed

    Goolsby did his very best to curb the unemployed beach dwellers who sit by the ocean all day while we have to go to work. That is where the budget funds get sucked up, and denied to teachers and other government workers. The long-term unemployed refuse to even do service industry work. 2 of my neighbors have spouses who work in the medical field and take home more now than when both worked full time! Go figure that math.

  • Samilm

    Deb Butler and Elizabeth Redenbaugh have more integrity, class and capability than you will ever have the pleasure of knowing. Thom Goolsby is and always will be; the devil himself.

  • Ricky5432

    Does this mean he’s not going to run for Congress ? Well, not exactly. When was the last time this Career Politician Lawyer, ever gave a straight answer ?

  • John McIntosh

    Berger and now Goolsby. Good Riddance!

  • 9743

    Glad to see you go Tommie, good riddance!! You used the same old limp and lame excuse that all politicians use: “I want to spend more time with my family”. The real reason you decided not to run again is because you knew your number was up, you were going to lose! Again, glad to see you go and good riddance and I hope we won’t be hearing from you again soon.

  • Lisa’s Two Cents

    I did not exactly hear him say he wasn’t running for Congress. There have been a lot of “Not Exactlys”, from this lawyer, over the last several years.

  • The Unknown Truth Teller

    In other words….. this “Citizen Legislator” is probably getting ready for another run, this time, for Congress.

    Cut all this ‘Mr.Smith Goes To Washington’ stuff.

    Are there really any straight-forward, non-career, politicians out there ?

  • Gramps1945

    GKirk- I believe you’re right.

    Something tells me, in a few months we’ll be hearing……
    “I wanted so badly to leave the ugly world of politics, and be with my family. But the community is crying out for me, and I must go out and serve in Washington. I am not a politician. As much as I hate politics, I can’t let Wilmington, or our children’s future down. After prayerful consideration, Yada Yada Yada”………

    He comes across as a Republican Conservative, to serve the people. All he serves is himself, and the lawyer lobby, self-interests, in Raleigh. The last thing we need is Goolsby, in Washington. But, something tells me, that is what he has, up his sleeve. How convenient, he makes this announcement, a few days after the job comes open.

    Unfortunately, we have not seen the last of this RINO (Republican In Name Only) Lawyer Politician.

  • Lisa’s Two Cents

    When you sit on top of a flagpole, everyone sees your bottom side.

  • Guest2020

    I’m glad he is going. Some of his budget cuts just did not make fiscal sense.

  • guest000000

    Yes…with him gone there will be one less MORON to protest against. He showed how little class he actually has by mocking and insulting the people who were protesting the draconian ways of our legislature since the REAL MORONS took over.

  • Susan1963

    Such ugly comments!! How many of you
    think you really could do a better job?

    Mr. Goolsby, may you extra time with your family be awesome as it should be!!

  • GKirk28405

    Thank you very much, thank you very much, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me!!!!!
    Good Riddance, but unfortunately I am sure he’ll be back again.

  • Erlkoenig

    You’ll have to loan him yours.

  • nasgi

    I thought Liberals were suppose to be the good guys and the conservatives were suppose to be the hate mongers. From the looks of the post here I am sure I am wrong. I have not seen this much hate and name calling since I left up north. You may not agree with him or how he voted in office, but he sure is better than Boseman which he replaced.

  • craig

    3 times I called his office looking for help. 3 times I left messages. 3 times no one ever called me back. I will not miss him.

  • ppetre

    Goolsby had class and integrity= he was who he was sometimes for the better sometimes not so. Unlike Deb Butler or Elizabeth Redenbaugh who have no class , little integrity and are best not in office.
    We need real people- not phonies like landlord Deb or Beth the hypocrit.
    Vile and lies we can do without from any gender

  • Erlkoenig

    I am now taking home more of what I earned to begin with thanks to Senator Goolsby. Thank you Senator.

    The freeloadeds chiming in here are probably a bit scared that they’ll have to get a job.

  • hohoho

    Lets hope he spends his time getting waxed by a vaginal wand.

  • jack spratt

    Gonna miss the coiner of the apt term “moron Monday.” Well said, Thom.

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