Senator Louis Pate announces retirement
Sen. Louis Pate announced his retirement from the N.C. State Senate Monday, effective immediately.
Sen. Pate was in his fifth term in the Senate, having previously served four terms in the N.C. State House of Representatives. He has been suffering with health issues, announcing in October that he intended this term to be his last.
A resident of Mount Olive, Sen. Pate represents Lenoir and Wayne Counties in the 7th District.
“I’ve been very blessed to have a number of mentors to help me in my journey through office and Sen. Pate was one of those,” said Rep. John Bell. “I’ll miss serving with him. He has served the district very well and I hope at the end of my tenure I will be as respected as he is. He is a statesman.”
With Sen. Pate’s seat now vacant, the “executive committee of the political party that held the seat comes up with the name of a replacement,” according to Andrew Dunn, publisher of Longleaf Politics.
In this case, the Republican parties of Lenoir and Wayne counties will come together to decide which name(s) to put forward to Gov. Roy Cooper to finish the two-year term through 2020.
The replacement will be decided by a weighted vote based on population in each county, with Lenoir County containing just under 29 percent of the Republican population in District 7 and Wayne County containing just over 71 percent, said Lenoir County GOP Chair John Nix.
“We’ll probably have five, maybe six candidates emerge, and we already know a few right now,” Nix said. “Until then we’re kind of letting the process happen. We’re trying to fill the seat with someone who’ll do a great job for our district.”
Nix estimates that there will be a replacement for Sen. Pate’s seat by the end of the month.
“We are sorry to see Sen. Pate retire,” said NCGOP Vice Chairman Michele Nix. “He has been a fantastic statesman and a wonderful senator for Lenoir and Wayne counties and has served with distinction and honor. We wish him well in his retirement and think he should enjoy some time with his family; he’s earned it.”