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After 41 years in the State Legislature, Sen. R.C. Soles, Jr. will not seek re-election in 2010.

The Senator announced his decision Wednesday after a year of questions and scandals. Despite the controversy, several Democratic leaders told WWAY the Senator will be missed.

Less than a year ago, Sen. Soles sounded committed to running for another term in the Senate. Since then, the longest serving legislator in North Carolina’s history has had a change of heart.

In May, Soles told us, “Let’s put it this way: I’m campaigning every day. But you never know what’s around the corner. Some people think I’ve been here long enough and to some extent I probably think I have been too. At this point, yes I’m running again. But you know you always have the option of changing.”

Now, seven months later, Sen. Soles had changed his mind. After four decades in the State Legislature, Soles is not seeking a twenty-second term.

In a statement Soles said: “Quite frankly I have never given much thought to retirement; however, after careful consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election… I plan to serve out the remainder of my term with the vigor and diligence my constituents deserve.”

Despite a turmoil-filled year for Sen. Soles, Democrats say his decision not to seek re-election is a sad day for North Carolina, and Soles will be remembered for his public service that has spanned almost half a century.

“I’m sorry to see all the negative publicity that he has gotten in the last year and we are certainly going to miss his leadership,” said Pender County Democratic Chair Jimbo Robbins. “And we appreciate his leadership throughout the year and what he’s done for Pender County, for his 7th Senatorial District, and also for the state of North Carolina.”

Senate President Pro-Tem Marc Basnight shares Robbins’ sentiments, issuing this statement: “R.C. Soles has represented in the Senate the very best of what a Senator should be. Across North Carolina, we are all fortunate for Sen. R.C. Soles’ service and are all better by it.”

Soles says he will continue to practice law in Columbus County. The Senator has practiced law for 50 years, and was recently recognized by the State Bar for his service.

Click here for the NC Senate Republican Committee’s response to Soles’ announcement.


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