Friday, July 17, 2009

Politics of the Superintendent Battle

In ruling that June Atkinson has the authority to run the state's schools, Judge Robert Hobgood said it would take a constitutional amendment to let the Governor decides who's in charge.

Good luck with that.

It would be a challenge just to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot since it would require at least some support from Republican legislators who don't have any incentive to give Bev Perdue more power. But the even more uphill battle would come once it got on the ballot. When we asked voters around the state in February whether low profile Council of State positions like Superintendent and the Commissioner of Agriculture, Insurance, and Labor should be elected or appointed 65% supported keeping them as elected positions with just 22% saying they should be appointed.

That inherent opposition from voters means it would take a well funded campaign to change their minds and convince them to give up some of their power as citizens. It's hard to imagine anyone cares enough about this issue to put up the money for a thorough and well organized effort.

So a constitutional amendment more than likely isn't going to happen. Perdue can keep fighting it through the court system. But with her approval numbers what they are already, does she really want to be seen as spending her energy and political capital on an intergovernmental turf battle?

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