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NC state auditor says she won't run for reelection

State auditor Beth Wood at a Raleigh GOTV event on Oct. 21, 2020.
State auditor Beth Wood at a Raleigh GOTV event on Oct. 21, 2020.

State Auditor Beth Wood announced Wednesday afternoon that she won't run for reelection.

Wood told a legislative committee that she wants to retire and pursue other interests as she turns 70; she'd previously told media outlets months ago that she intended to seek another term.

"There are some circumstances that are in my life, and I’ve recognized that four years from now I’ll be 74 years old," Wood said, "and so if there are some things I want to do, I need to get them done now."

The auditor's decision comes months after she pleaded guilty to hit-and-run charges. Wood crashed her state-owned car in downtown Raleigh last December while leaving a holiday party where she said she had two glasses of wine. She later said leaving the scene of the accident was a "grave mistake."

Wood is a Democrat who's been in office since 2009. Five Republicans are running for auditor next year, but so far no Democrats have announced plans to seek the position.

The GOP candidates include UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees member Dave Boliek, former Secretary of State candidate AJ Daoud, Jack Clark, Jim Kee and Charles Dingee.

In her four terms as state auditor, Wood garnered respect from both sides of the aisle for her aggressive approach to rooting out financial problems in state agencies.

Wednesday's announcement came at the conclusion of a two-hour legislative oversight hearing where Wood presented her findings about problems at the state Division of Employment Security, which is facing scrutiny for slow unemployment payments.

Wood said she plans to finish her current term. "I also want you to remember, we’ve got 14 months to kick some butt, so we will get it done over the next 14 months," she told legislators.

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.